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Rendez-Vous France: how is France going to seduce foreign clients?

Rendez-Vous France took place on April 1 and 2, 2015


Atout France did not skimp on the means to seduce foreign tour-operators who went shopping at the Rendez-Vous France Trade Fair. Because despite the intense competition between destinations to attract travelers, our country is still a little bit ahead of the game.



Matthias Fekl, State Secretary in charge of tourism inaugurated the Rendez-vous Trade Fair in France accompanied by Christian Mantéi, Director of Atout France. DR-LAC
Matthias Fekl, State Secretary in charge of tourism inaugurated the Rendez-vous Trade Fair in France accompanied by Christian Mantéi, Director of Atout France. DR-LAC
The aisles of the Trade Fair Rendez-vous France look like a small anthill.

Here there are no impressive decorations or elaborate set-ups. Every one sits behind a simple counter and is working.

Close to 750 French exhibitors scheduled 23,000 meetings with professionals coming from 67 countries.

And 17 regions have mobilized to welcome 420 tour-operators in the realm of 36 educational tours.

“I found a way to organize biking visits and stays in original castles for my clients,” explains Ashish Chitnis, from the Indian tour-operator Mercury Travel. “But Paris remains an unmissable landmark that every Indian tourist dreams of exploring.”

A bit further, Simon Sun, from the Chinese TO BCTS is also interested in biking tours as well as excursions in Paris in Citroën 2CV. “France always has an excellent image with my clientele. People don’t seem concerned about safety, they still want to travel there.”

Same observation for Sachin Varma from the agency Virtual Holidays, that operates on the Indian market. “Indian people come to France to shop on the Champs Elysées, be entertained at the Moulin Rouge. It is still an easy trip to sell.”

An extension of the Atout France budget

Yet, our famous Eiffel Tower is not always enough to convince clients in front of competitors who easily spend millions of euros in extravagant communication campaigns.

Last year, the first Brazilian tour-operator, CVC, has in fact sold more trips to Lisbon than Paris, following an important publicity campaign by Portugal.

But Christian Mantéi, the Director of Atour France is diplomatic.

In absolute value, France remains the first European destination for Brazilians. It has even become the first for Americans.

He is however conscious of the extremely competitive environment in which he must evolve.

“Tourism is an economy based on supply and not demand. Meaning that we need sufficient stocks to sell to clients, especially hotel rooms.”

To seduce tourists, local collectivities have to render their territories attractive in order to find investors who will want to established themselves there and build infrastructures necessary to travelers.

A virtuous circle that is not always easy to put in place for some isolated regions, but destination contracts could emerge along with the creation of brands.

“Before, each region worked on its own, but now, there is a coherent and global approach to promote the brand of France,” continues Christian Mantéi.

In fact, he is happy of the commitment of Laurent Fabius on the profession.

Even though he couldn’t be there to inaugurate the Trade Fair, due to his appointment in Lausanne for the talks on Iranian nuclear activity, he approved an extension of one million euros for Atout France, of which the budget was decreasing this year.

Enough to prove the engagement of the government in this sector, as reminded the State Secretary Matthias Fekl who came in person to cut the ribbon.

“Tourism was left aside for too long even though it constitutes a source of employment that cannot be outsourced. Today, we’re going to support the diversification of territories and the increase of offers thanks to the destination contract. I am happy to now witness a coherent and clear offer.”

In order to turn these words into actions, Laurent Fabius should soon make announcements on the creation of brands that will further valorize territories.

Written by Laury-Anne CHOLEZ translated by Joséphine Foucher the 02/04/2015
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