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Marseille: “2015 will be another great year for tourism”

Interview of Maxime Tissot, Director of the Tourism and Congress Office

With the upcoming Easter vacations 2015, the Tourism and Congress Office of Marseille has launched its 2015 tourism season, on Thursday April, 2nd, 2015. Local tourism professionals were invited to participate in workshops organized in the rooms of the Vélodrome Stadium. The opportunity to do an assessment with Maxime Tissot, Director of the Tourism and Congress office of Marseille.

Rédigé par Pierre Coronas translated by Joséphine Foucher le Dimanche 5 Avril 2015

Maxime Tissot is the Director of the Tourism and Congress Office of Marseille - Photo DR
Maxime Tissot is the Director of the Tourism and Congress Office of Marseille - Photo DR - Today, you are launching the 2015 Marseille tourism season, are you feeling optimistic about this year?

Maxime Tissot: “I think that 2015 is going to be another great year for tourism in Marseille, for one simple reason: various ranking websites, including one by TripAdvisor, that was recently published, place Marseille as one of the key cities to explore this year.

Consequently, this should translate in many people coming to visit.

But that should also enable the increase of tourism services in Marseille.” - Especially in the hotel sector?

M.T.: “Yes but this fact doesn’t only concern the level of service of the city’s hotels.

I believe that today, all of tourism professionals of Marseille are becoming aware that tourism is very important commercially. So it raises its level of professionalism to meet client’s expectations.”

"2013 changed the image of regions" - In this view, Marseille is maintaining its momentum initiated in 2013 as the European Capital of Culture…

M.T.: “Tourism has been an important question in Marseille for around fifteen years.

Marseille 2013 was a premiere, just like in theater. We rehearsed before and we were in the spotlight for a whole year. This event was a success, for both Marseille and all of Provence.

2013 enabled to change the image of this region, especially of Marseille. The city transformed itself while staying true to its roots.

Today, tourism gives 18,000 jobs in Marseille and 1 billion euros in economic profits. This economic sector is developing rapidly.” - The cruising sector contributes significantly to this development…

M.T.: “It is simple: in 1995, when Jean-Claude Gaudin was elected mayor of Marseille, a tourism development scheme was established around three main areas - business tourism, leisure tourism, and cruises.

Since then, we have particularly done well with business tourism by hosting a large number of congresses. But also, and especially, with cruises: in 1995, we had around 19,000 cruises-goers and now we’re going to cross the 1.4 million passenger mark this year, which makes us enter in the Top 5 of cruise harbors in the Mediterranean.

Furthermore, behind this activity, is the naval reparation that is gaining importance through the renovation and launch of the future Forme 10.

All of this contributes to creating wealth, jobs, and improving Marseille’s image. And this is due to the intelligent cooperation of the socio-economic players of the city and region.

Which enables us to gain the trust of local and foreign investors. Whether it is in the hotel sector, restaurants, or other areas.”

Sports in the tourism development strategy - Jacques Truaud, the emblematic president of the Club de la Croisière Marseille Provence is retiring this year. How do you analyze his decision?

M.T.: “Jacques is an incredible person. One of my friends, so I could only speak very highly of him!

He was the one who launched the development of Marseille cruises. His successor, Jean-François Suhas, is also very competent. He should pursue these actions efficiently.” - You have chosen to launch the touristic season at the Vélodrome Stadium. In fact, Marseille will be the European sports capital in 2017 and will host the matches of the Euro 2016 of football. What is the implication of sports in your strategy of touristic development?

M.T.: “Just like cultural events, sports are very important in our strategy.

We are currently trying to be selected to host a semi-final of the France Rugby Championship of Top 14. It is very important to attract tourists to the city and insure that they stay for a few nights.

We have to stay on top of our game and the European Capital of Sports in 2017 is one of the elements that will enable us to make it.”

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Tags : Marseille

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