Atout France kicked off its annual roadshow in Canada with events in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver last week, showcasing what France and its destinations have to offer Canadian visitors.
The French destination representatives, suppliers, and local partners such as Air Canada, Air Canada Vacations, Club Med or CroisiEurope, met with 350 travel advisors and key industry players. Most of France was represented, from Région Sud Provence destinations (Nice, Marseille Aix en Provence, Antibes…), to the Nouvelle-Aquitaine (Bordeaux/Cognac/Lascaux), not forgetting famed châteaux in the outskirts of Paris or in UNESCO listed Loire Valley (Vaux-le-Vicomte, Clos Lucé) and the vibrant city of Nantes on the Atlantic Loire estuary. Dieppe in Normandy is present to anticipate a busy 2023 summer marked by the D-Day 80th commemorations, and a large delegation from Occitanie region is all set to host Canadian travellers in great numbers as the new Air Canada Montreal-Toulouse direct service starts operating early June.
The Occitanie delegation is accompanied by Fitour, a DMC which can help customize travel itineraries in several parts of France. Hôtels Baverez is also present promoting three top French properties as well as the Martinique Tourism Board, a French West Indies’ favorite for independent and epicurean travelers.
Mélanie Paul-Hus, Atout France’s Director for Canada, highlighted the theme of this year’s roadshow, “Innovation in tourism businesses,” which is becoming crucial to attracting tourists again, helping create new experiences and emotions. Surprising visitors, building loyalty and adapting the offer in order to remain competitive is key for France’s future development.
The Atout France global network has supported some 50 start-ups in the sector to date. Attendees of the Destination France events were able to test some innovations such as Fit Immersion VR headsets to experience the most renowned roads and landscapes of France aboard a stationary bike.
The mood is very optimistic for France as major sports events unfold (Ski World Championships, Rugby World Cup, Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games) and tourism from Canada shows an upturn. The codeword to the trade and consumers is “book early.” The next two years will be exceptional for France and the occasion to innovate even further across the hospitality sector, but also with urban and interregional transportation. As an example, the star region of Occitanie featured its new Occitanie Rail Tour product which allows visitors to minimize the use of individual cars within the boundaries of the immense territory covered, from the Pyrenees mountains to the Mediterranean coast, with destinations such as Toulouse, Lourdes, Albi, Montpellier, Figeac, Carcassonne, Nimes…).
Air Canada, Destination France 2023’s airline partner, highlighted new services and renewed enthusiasm for France while reminding attendees of its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality in all its activities by 2050.
Atout France also proudly offset the carbon footprint of its Destination France tour through the Choose program, with which Air Canada is affiliated.
Canadian travel advisors were invited by Atout France’s Operational Marketing Manager Samantha Favel to enroll to the brand-new ACTA accredited France Connaisseur online specialist program. New learners who will have completed the Occitanie module by March 15 module will have a chance to win a 6-night trips in our star region.
The full list and contact information of the Destination France exhibitors can be found on http://www.destinationfrance.ca as well as info on how to sign up to the France Connaisseur program.