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Agents, exhibitors meet at Destination France 2015

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  •   02-26-2015  9:09 am
Agents, exhibitors meet at Destination France 2015

Consul General of France Jean-François Casabonne MasonnaveIn a four-city roadshow across Canada this week, the annual Destination France events are welcoming travel agents across the country to be their guest and learn about the country’s travel offerings in a year full of milestones.

Twenty-six exhibitors are participating in the activities, including representatives from airlines, tour operators, hotels and attractions. In addition to Toronto and Montreal, Destination France 2015 is also taking place in Calgary and Vancouver.

In the lead-up to the shows, Atout France asked travel professionals to vote for their favourite French travel product of the year, resulting in 10 itineraries vying for the top prize. At a reception following the trade show, Atout France and Consul General of France Jean-François Casabonne Masonnave awarded Insight Vacations for their Country Roads of France package and recognized Connaissance Travel and Tours as Travel Partner of the Year.

The inextricable ties between France and Canada are once again being highlighted this year, as France marks the 70th anniversary of its liberation from Nazi Germany by Allied forces in World War II. Armelle Tardy-Joubert, director – Canada, Atout France, explained that the show’s theme of ‘Be Our Guest’ recognizes the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers in both the liberation effort and Canada’s earlier role in WWI, as well as the ever-increasing numbers of Canadian travellers visiting the country. According to Tardy-Joubert, more than one million Canadians ventured to France in 2013, representing a 15 per cent increase over 2012.

Atout France: "Be Our Guest"“We want to thank Canadians for their role in fighting for freedom,” she said, “both in France, Europe and the world. All around France, people will welcome Canadians as friends. The message to Canadians is we are welcoming them and caring for them as distinguished guests and contributing to create exceptional experiences.”

With France welcoming increasing numbers of Canadians, Air France announced that the airline’s weekly summer flights between Canada and Paris this year will increase from 28 to 33. These include the return of a third daily departure from Montreal (between June 2 and late September), increased capacity on its Toronto service and the debut of flights from Vancouver on March 29, beginning with three weekly flights and increasing to five after May 4. According to Femke Kroese, commercial director – Canada for Air France-KLM, upgrades to all cabin classes are also on the horizon, debuting on the Toronto service this fall before expanding to flights out of other gateways. Those new features include more legroom, the addition of USB and electric outlets on Economy seats, and fully reclining private seats in Business.

France’s 2015 travel highlights

In addition to France’s 4,000 annual festivals (with 1,000 of those dedicated to music), here are some of the country’s cultural highlights for 2015:

The winners - Insight Vacations & Connaissance Travel and Tours- After the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI in 2014, celebrations and events commemorating the conflict will continue in France this year and through until 2018, marking a century since the war’s end.

- In addition to the 70th anniversary of France’s liberation in WWII, a number of important milestones will also be marked this year, including the 1,000th anniversary of the first stone laid at Strasbourg Cathedral, the 300th anniversary of the death of Dom Perignon (the ‘Father of Champagne’) and the 500th anniversary of the crowning of King Francis I.

- This year’s Gout de France gastronomy celebration will celebrate French cuisine around the world, with more than 1,000 chefs across five continents showcasing their creations, including 18 Canadian chefs.

- Due to particularly high tides predicted for 2015, visitors can see the historic landmark of Mont St. Michel in northwestern France become an island once again.

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