France Says “Bienvenue!” To Canadians

with Martha Chapman

Julie Marchive, Fondation Pour La Culture et Les Civilisations du Vin; Armelle Tardy-Joubert, Atout France; Marc Trouyet, Consul General of France

AF’s Diane Audet & Marie-Andrée Boucher, Atout France

Patrice Geske, Globus family of brands (3rd from right) accepting Globus award as Partner of the Year

AC ladies: Cynthia Farrill, Dianne Pedroso & Chantal Podgorski

It’s no secret that there are strong tourism ties between France and Canada – as was showcased at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel this past week. Part of a cross country show including Quebec City, Montreal and Vancouver, the annual Destination France Showcase proved to be one-stop shopping for agents. Some 30 regional suppliers were also present at the very well attended marketplace despite the day’s weather challenges.

“This annual professional workshop showcases the diversity of France,” Armelle Tardy-Joubert, Director for France of Atout France, the national tourist board, told us. “We are the #1 tourism  country in the world with 84 million visitors in 2014 – and a goal of 100 million by 2020.”

Here are some cool factoids we picked up:

                ● The French Alps are home to the largest ski area in the world

                ● Bad boy chef Gordon Ramsay loves France so much he settled in Bordeaux last year

                ● France is home to the largest car museum in the world, in Mulhouse

                ● You can do tours of Versailles Palace by candle light – 2,000 candles

                ● And, from France’s overseas territories: There are 14 rum distilleries in Martinique; the € is the official currency of the rocky islands of St.   Pierre & Miquelon,  just a 45 min. flight south of YYT.

We also learned that AF and its subsidiary HOP fly to an impressive 38 destinations within France. In news from AF, it’s launching YVR-CDG this year, also in April debuting an optional Y class meal upgrade service for $17 to $26 which will allow pax to sample regional and traditional foods. But, and as Steven Larkin (who works with DL and its sister airlines including AF) reminded us:  the champagne is always on the house with AF!

Santé to that!

(will not be published)