What does the rum of Martinique, the salt of Brittany and the wines of the Loire Valley have in common?
For Atout France, they’re just a few examples of a French Know-How, a new campaign which aims to draw and educate visitors to learn more about the country’s exported goods while enjoying a leisure vacation. Joined by Tudor Alexis, the new Consul General for France, the new campaign was presented to a Toronto audience last night (Nov. 6) by Atout France in conjunction with eight French travel partners, including representatives from Auvergne Rhône-Alpes; the Les Menuires, Val d'Isère and Val Thorens ski resorts; Brittany; Atlantic Loire Valley; Martinique; and Air Canada.
Melanie Paul-Hus, director of Canada for Atout France, told PAX that the new campaign, which launched Sept 20, has announced the list of the first wave of companies (a total of 85 companies, with more to come) offering travellers the chance to visit their facilities though the campaign. Tour operators will be able to meet several of these suppliers during an upcoming March 2020 travel trade show in Nantes, where they will also get to take part in tours of these producers.
For the trade, Paul-Hus said that the new campaign provides travel agents another angle to promote France tourism to their clients by catering to unique interests.
“For tour operators with itineraries that are already set, they can study and see what’s possible to add to their existing programs,” she told PAX. “I think it’s going to a growing trend; it will also allow tour operators to ask more questions of their clients before booking. For example, they might be passionate about aerospace but didn’t mention it while booking a trip to France; travel agents shouldn’t hesitate to ask their clients about personal interest or what kind of job they do.”
She added that an information kit on the campaign will be available for travel professionals, adding that if an agent has a specific request (or an inquiry regarding potential commission opportunities), they can directly contact the participating business, or respective tourism board. Paul-Hus also explained that it’s hoped the campaign will bring more visitors to France’s lesser-known regions.
“We hope that it will bring more awareness to places outside of main cities; sometimes you need to go the extra distance to find these companies, but it will bring people to the countryside – and once you visit the countryside of France, you fall in love very quickly!”
The following is a list of updates from each of the travel partners at last night’s event:
- Air Canada now serves six destinations in France: including seasonal flights to Bordeaux Marseille and Nice with year-round service offered to Paris and Lyon and, from 2020, Toulouse. Air Canada's Montreal-Toulouse service will begin on June 4, 2020 and will be operated by an Airbus A330-300 with 292 seats. The French overseas regions of Martinique and Guadeloupe benefit from services all year round.
- The opening of Lyon's first Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie last October has already generated a lot of interest, while a new gourmet offer, the Vallée de la Gastronomie, stretching from Dijon to Marseille, has been announced in Auvergne Rhône-Alpes. The route crosses a large part of the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes territory, encompassing vineyards, orchards and local producers.
- The ESF (French Ski school) des Menuires has created L'Étoilée hike, a gentle evening hike (272 m of altitude difference) that allows you to climb to the Refuge du Lac du Lou. In Val d'Isère, Hôtel le Yule, in addition to its Spa Nuxe, will have a paramedical technical centre offering tailor-made training and care from Dec. 1. In Val Thorens, seven high-mountain guides have created sensational off-piste outings, Premiers pas sur un glacier (First steps on a glacier), with a unique gateway to the Vanoise glaciers.
- In 2020, Brittany will host Brest International Maritime Festivals; held once every four years, more than 1,000 boats will converge in the bay, providing guests with a unique opportunity to learn about all the maritime cultures of the globe.
- The Loire Valley Wine Routes allow travellers to meet winegrowers, while 10 minutes from the seaside resort of La Baule-Presqu'île de Guérande, the 2,000 hectares of salt marshes reveal new landscapes. Visits to salt workers and villages allow travellers to discover an ancestral profession producing an essential part of French gastronomy: salt and Fleur de sel de Guérande.
- As an overseas region of France, Martinique boasts beautifully unspoiled beaches, volcanic peaks, rainforests, 80+ miles of hiking trails, waterfalls and streams. In January 2019, OprahMag.com listed Martinique first in “The 19 Best Winter Getaways.”
More information is available at www.entrepriseetdecouverte.fr and ca.france.fr.
In the main photo: (From left, front row) Florence Gaulupeau, foreign press officer, Tourism Bretagne; Muriel Wiltord, director for the Americas, Martinique Tourism Committee; Vanessa Monfort, international communications manager, Pays de la Loire ; Tudor Alexis, Consul General for France; Estelle Roy, press officer, Friendly Menuires; Nathalie Grosse, sales executive, Val Thorens; Melanie Paul-Hus, director – Canada, Atout France; (from left, back row) Audrey Tanguay Beaudette, tourism & partnership support manager, Air Canada; Ingrid Labeau, Marketing Coordinator, Martinique Tourism Committee; Ingrid Perrais, promotion manager, La Baule Pres’quille du Guerande Tourisme ; Astrid Mahfi-Zatovic, promotion manager- Val d'Isère Tourism ; Marie-Andrée Boucher, press & publications manager, Atout France; Corrine Renard, press manager, Auvergne Rhone-Alpes Tourisme.
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