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Welcome to France
May 2015 2304

Rendez-vous en France 2015, the country’s biggest and most important trade fair for tourism, returned to Paris on March 31 to April 1 this year. Atout France, the country’s tourism development agency, invited and hosted TTN in the City of Lights to experience the event, now in its 10th year.

After a comfortable journey courtesy of Air France’s business class offering (Dubai to Paris), we were put up in Pullman Montparnasse in the French capital.

On March 30, the opening soirée at the Lido on the Champs-Elysées took us behind the scenes of a new cabaret show. The next day at Parc des Expositions at Porte de Versailles, Rendez-vous en France brought together 920 international tour operators and 750 French exhibitors for 23,000 business meetings.

This year saw a 10 per cent increase in the number of tourism professionals, including exhibitors, tour operators (67 nationalities), buyers and journalists over last year.

Seventeen regions played an active role this year through their regional tourism committees by organising 36 familiarisation trips for 420 tour operators.

Tourism product

France has been the world’s number one tourist destination in terms of arrivals numbers (84.7 million in 2013) for a quarter of a century. It doesn’t come as a surprise that tourism represents 7.43 per cent of its gross domestic product, at €42.2 billion ($45 billion).

This is another promising year for France.

The capital city has unveiled the Philharmonie de Paris, a unique concert hall designed by award-winning architect Jean Nouvel in Parc de la Villette. This November will see the reopening of musems Musée de l’Homme after major renovation work and the Musée du Montparnasse.

The bicentennial year for Napoleon’s return from exile and defeat at Waterloo, 2015 will see special exhibits in Paris museums and re-enactments in various provinces around the country. In Normandy, Mont St Michel will return to its natural island state this year after a ten-year engineering project, and has a new museum called L’Historial Jeanne d’Arc, which explores the life and times of the country’s patron saint Joan of Arc. This year is also dedicated to Renaissance king François I, patron of Leonardo da Vinci, who first ascended to the throne 500 years ago.

Paris is still the capital of fashion, luxury and shopping and the winter and summer sales are ever popular. Sunday has also become synonymous with shopping, with the opening of exceptional shops in seven tourist areas including Montmartre, the Marais and the Champs-Élysées, districts with a high-concentration of clothes brands. Iconic department stores such as Galeries Lafayette and Printemps both deserve a mention.

The venue

Paris expo Porte de Versailles is one of ten leading exhibition, venues, entertainment venues and conference centres in the Paris-Ile-de-France region managed by Viparis.

Built in 1923 and with its fabulous view of the Eiffel tower, Paris expo Porte de Versailles, is Europe’s largest exhibition venue.

The premium exhibition venue is continually enhanced and modernised, and will undertake another 10-year construction project that will see it get a major facelift by 2025. This new project, built over three phases, will make Porte de Versailles greener and larger. The estimated budget for the project runs to €497 million ($530 million).


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