TORONTO — Atout France joined travel agents and suppliers yesterday in a celebration of the return to travel, at the Destination France road show.
Hosted at the Westin Harbour Castle Toronto, the event gave travel advisors and the media a chance to sit down with suppliers and tourism boards to find out what Canadians can look forward to on future trips to the region.
Destination France encouraged exhibitors to showcase and highlight travel trends, what’s up and coming, and what they want Canadian travellers and trade to know about the experiences to be had in France.
Mélanie Paul-Hus, Director for Canada, Atout France had some positive comments about Canadian travel to France. In an interview with Travelweek, Paul-Hus said: “The connectivity is back, we have all the airlines and seats available for the summer. France strikes a chord for those who have never been before, it is definitely a bucket list destination and there is a concentration of variety and sites and landscapes in a small area that you can visit.”
Paul-Hus also highlighted the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympic games. “Hotels are renovating and we also have a brand new hotel ranking which includes more criteria related to sustainable developments, so we are very confident about that and we are excited to have the Olympics highlight that.”
She adds: “Whatever the client wants in France is possible to offer. Our office is here to help in case of any questions, and we want to thank travel agents for being on top of everything during the past two years. If travellers choose to go to France, you won’t need to scratch your head to plan out those incredible experiences.”
Air Canada’s service to Paris from Toronto and Montreal is operated on B777-300ER aircraft. The Toronto-Paris route is offered daily, while Montreal-Paris is a year-round service offered twice daily, operated on 777s during the summer peak season and operated on 788s off peak season.
Meanwhile Air Canada’s year-round service between Montreal and Lyon offers up to five flights per week, scaling back to four flights weekly as of Oct. 10, 2022.
Flights between Montreal and Nice operate on a seasonal basis May 14 – Oct. 27 with up to three weekly flights.
Air Transat’s Steve Brown, Inside Sales Representative, Ontario & Atlantic Canada was at the event to showcase Transat’s brochure and offerings to France. There are many direct flights each week to France, allowing for exploration in a variety of destinations. Transat’s Economy and Club Class fare options have been enhanced to provide more flexibility in terms of changing plans and allows for date and destination modifications at no cost, up to 24 hours before departure. Destinations with Air Transat include Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Paris and Toulouse, in addition to Transat’s TGVAir option.
Also at the event, Corsair BDM Jon Murray provided updates that the French airline will resume flights to Paris-Orly from Montreal on June 4, with up to seven routes per week. The flights will be operated on A330-300 aircraft until Jan. 11, 2023.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid, and there is a beautiful exhibition on display at the Juno Beach Centre museum. The Canadian Remembrance Route is another important offering, one that pays tribute to the 500,000 Canadian soldiers who fought to bring freedom to the French people.
Normandy also offers a maritime experience, The Velomaritime, with a wide range of cycling trips with six major routes available. Normandy Tourism also offers a travel trade edition of its brochure, highlighting the major sites and experiences, as well as tour ideas that will be unforgettable to clients.
‘A Modern Journey Through an Old Land’ invites travellers to experience the West of France, exploring the region through an itinerary to Mont-Saint-Michel on an eight-day journey. Xavier Theret, Head of International Promotion and Relations, Le voyage à Nantes was at the Destination France event to showcase how this modern journey highlights the culture and heritage that can be discovered through the secret beaches, artworks and landscapes all throughout this travel experience.
On hand at the Destination France event from Club Med were Samantha Gillingham, BDM Ontario, Alberta & B.C., and Jacinda Lowry, Senior Sales Director for Canada. Gillingham and Lowry highlighted the investments and initiatives Club Med made during the pandemic, along with digital tools to help support agents. They note that the Club Med specialist program is highly interactive and user-friendly, with a realistic way to learn how to sell Club Med and become a specialist.
Also its booking engine, Club Med TA, has a completely brand new look and feel to its user-friendly platform. Club Med is seeing strong demand and throughout the pandemic has opened new resorts, including the brand new Club Med Quebec Charlevoix, and the company’s portfolio keeps growing with sun and ski products.