Atout France CEO, Christian Mantei – on the organisation’s roadmap
How is Atout France enhancing the diversity of the French offer to international visitors? We put the question to the organisation’s CEO, Christian Mantei.
In recent years, we have promoted France internationally through the prism of its various destination brands. Indeed, some of them already enjoy a very strong reputation, which, thanks notably to their strong digital footprint, can even top that of France itself in some countries: Paris, Bordeaux, Champagne, Provence, Alps – Mont Blanc… It’s a choice that enables us to develop all of the national territory and its various assets and thus to allow more destinations to bene t from the important tourism potential of our country.
But we also wanted to bring new destinations to the attention of our visitors. This is why we came up with the idea of “destination contracts” currently applying to 22 places. This device brings together the key stakeholders in the same destination around a strategy for tourism development and a common goal. We support them in this process in terms of engineering, observation and promotion, so that they are able to accommodate visitors in the best possible conditions. Atout France’s 30 international offices are developing their promotional actions around the development of global brands and territories thanks to the destination contracts and they have particularly high visibility on France’s tourism website: France.fr.
How do you work with international travel professionals?
As the primary advisors supporting a destination, tourism professionals are a priority target of our actions. Atout France’s teams have a very strong relationship with them in all of the markets in which we operate. We also allow French professionals to bene t from these excellent relations by organising prospection in different countries, so that they can directly present their products to these choice travel advisors.
Finally, we invite them several times per year to discover the French offer, notably organising increasingly popular BtoB shows in France; either generic or related to a theme (mountain/ski, wine tourism, etc.), enabling them, in just 2 days, to meet a maximum number of French suppliers. These meetings also allow for “fam tours” to a number of French destinations.
What are the prospects for French tourism in 2017?
In 2016, France welcomed nearly 83 million international visitors (compared to 85 million in 2015 which was a record year), with a final quarter showing encouraging signs of recovery (+ 3.9%). The beginning of 2017 con rms this trend: International reservations, including from the most distant markets, are increasing, and prospects look good for the coming 3-6 months.
We are thus con dent, and even more so with recent opening (cave of Lascaux IV in the Dordogne) and future openings (City of Music on the île Seguin, Arts Museum in Nantes, Palace Square in Avignon…) further energising the French offering.