Targeting the Top Step of the Tourism Podium

The “vision” of Michel Durrieu – General Director – Regional Tourist Board – Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Michel Durrieu’s ambition is to make Nouvelle-Aquitaine the most attractive region for tourism in France. He explains the current place of tourism in the region and the role tourism plays in regional policy. Of all the French regions, Nouvelle- Aquitaine is currently the #2 holiday destination for French people and is approaching the leading trio for foreign visitors. Nearly 28 million tourists visited the area in 2017. Its destinations and sites have achieved exceptional results: arrivals of foreign visitors by air are up 8%, Lascaux and La Cité du Vin have had record attendances. With our famous world brands such as Bordeaux, the Dordogne Valley, Biarritz-Pays Basque, the Pyrenees, the region aims to develop the arrival of tourists who are fond of authenticity, French “art de vivre”, gastronomy, culture, breath-taking natural landscapes and innovative and unique experiences.


Nouvelle-Aquitaine has all the assets to become the #1 destination of French travellers. The objective is also to position the region on the podium of French destinations for international tourists, just behind Paris and the Côte d’Azur.

While 28 million French and foreign tourists visited the region in 2017, the bar of 30 million tourists will soon be exceeded. But it is also very important to look at the incomes and jobs created. Exceeding €16bn revenue and creating more than 40,000 jobs by 2020 seems realistic.

After working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Durrieu has a “different take” on the promotion of regional tourism…

Following a long career in tourism, in companies such as Carlson Wagonlit Travel, TUI and Nouvelles Frontières, I arrived at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2014 – a Ministry which also deals with tourism policy – in order to develop the new strategy of Destination France, a mission that the minister had entrusted to me.

Now it’s done! This experience has been very helpful in developing my understanding of the global issues related to the development of this sector of activity in terms of value creation as well as jobs. My seat as Permanent Representative of France in the UNWTO has also allowed me to foster a great number of connections. I now intend to leverage this network of contacts in the service of Nouvelle-Aquitaine to raise awareness about the exceptional richness of its destinations. It’s a big challenge!

Larger than Austria and more populous than Denmark, the region has the means of its ambitions: to become the unavoidable destination when it comes to French art de vivre, a destination of authenticity and unprecedented experiences, and THE destination for innovative, sustainable and resolutely forward-looking tourism.

Photo: Michel Durrieu – General Director – Regional Tourist Board – Nouvelle-Aquitaine