VISION OF THE TRAVEL PROS: Evelyne Gaudin – Luxury Travel Advisor – En Route Travel – Santa Monica, CA, USA

While travel advisors in the US continue to promote France, which has always been in the top five destinations in terms of popularity, it is important to have this new dynamic created by Atout France in order to interest clients who may have already been – but are looking for something different.

While Paris has been a main focus – often as “the world’s most popular tourist destination city”, we have to think of France as being something aside from Paris. What has been needed is training on other ideas and destinations in France. Of course, people know the Côte d’Azur, but there are so many other regions, like Brittany, Normandy, the Alps, and so on, that should be placed more “front of house” by agents. Then there is thematic travel. Wine culture is the number one theme, so we need to be designing more itineraries around the wine regions.

Art is another key attraction, as well as existing beautiful regions like the Loire Valley, which travellers are not asking for so much anymore. An emerging market we are nding is that of river cruises, that give people a chance to discover the destination at another pace. Each region should be very honest when telling what they have to offer, and this is where I believe travel advisors will need more information. There is always room for more advisor training.