Rendez-vous en France focuses on top events


Over 1,900 tourism professionals from around the world convened at the two-day 18th Rendez-vous en France last month. The event provided a platform for deliberation on crucial matters concerning the delivery of a tourism experience that is both qualitative and inclusive.

French tourism players were out in force with more than 600 top firms showcasing their products and new developments to nearly 850 international stakeholders from 62 countries across the globe.

Rendez-vous en France is the most important B2B exhibition dedicated to the international marketing of French tourism offerings.

Atout France Middle East and Turkey played host to 37 tour operators (from Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, KSA, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey) and a journalist from TTN for the two-day event and other activities surrounding it.

The event was inaugurated by Olivia Grégoire, Minister Delegate in charge of Business, Tourism and Consumption, as well as Carole Delga, President of the Occitanie Region, on March 26.

Rendez-vous en France garnered more global attention owing to the numerous events to be held in France this year starting with the biggest sports extravaganza – Olympics and Paralympic Games of Paris 2024, followed by the 150th anniversary of Impressionism

“The 26,256 business meetings scheduled demonstrated the undeniable success of the show among international tour operators, eager to strengthen ties with their French partners,” said a spokesperson for Atout France.

As anticipated, Rendez-vous en France garnered more global attention owing to the numerous events to be held in France this year starting with the biggest sports extravaganza – Olympics and Paralympic Games of Paris 2024, followed by the 150th anniversary of Impressionism.

The other events lined up this year are the 80th anniversary of D-Day that marks the Landings at Normandy on June 6 by Allied forces, which mounted the largest amphibious invasion in the world resulting in the liberation of France and Europe; the Francophonie Summit in Villers-Cotterêts; and also the much-awaited reopening of Notre-Dame de Paris, a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité, in Paris.

A series of conferences focused on these events and the rich and unprecedented programme of activities being put together in the country this year. 

Top French Tourism and Paris Region officials put spotlight on the ongoing preparations including the fool-proof security measures in place for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympic Games, which is less than three months away.

There was a major presentation on Explore France 2024 and its key sustainable tourism initiatives. Under the banner ‘ExploreFrance’, the 13 regional tourism organisations of mainland France and around 20 companies in the sector have united to promote the France destination internationally.

Continuing on from 2023, this year’s campaign will even more strongly highlight offerings that cater to travellers seeking a slower, more sustainable, and more authentic tourism experience, said senior officials.

Under the evocative slogan ‘Dream big, live slow’, tourists are being invited to France to enjoy unforgettable, eco-friendly travel experiences.

French tourism officials are encouraging visitors to discover incredible panoramas and places unreachable by car at their own pace and in complete freedom. This initiative is aimed at all travelers, offering possibilities for sports cycling enthusiasts, families seeking outdoor leisure activities, or adventurers wishing to roam and cross France from one region to another, stated the officials.

As part of the national tourism strategy this year, Atout France has collaborated with France Vélo Tourisme to focus on boosting bicycle tourism and has set an ambitious target to make France a global hub for bicycle tourism by 2030.

Regarding the new offerings in the 2024 campaign, Atout France emphasised the promotion of greener means of transportation, along with art de vivre, gastronomy, culture, and heritage within the 13 French metropolitan regions, and making harmonious management of tourist flows a top priority.

In addition, the campaign is being introduced to new long-haul markets, providing them with a sustainable dimension for their stay in France campaign, and incorporating new sustainable tourism initiatives.

Atout France selected Toulouse to host the Rendez-Vous en France primarily due to its stature as a major business tourism hub, offering connections to 80 global destinations in addition to numerous rail links.

“The Pink City shines with its many attractive facets and continues to confirm its place as one of the most popular French metropolises. With growing cultural wealth, economic dynamism and an increase in business and leisure tourism, we have many assets to offer on all fronts,” Jean Claude Dardelet, the Deputy Mayor of Toulouse, told TTN.

“We have chosen a range of themes to cater for international clients, ranging from our history and architecture to food and drink from our city which flies the flag for South West France and its culinary scene,” he stated while speaking at a farewell party hosted by him for the Atout France guests.

“Toulouse was voted the most attractive French metropolis in 2023, thanks to the development of multiple infrastructures, such as nurseries, libraries and cinemas, affordable housing costs, a suitable reception capacity for new industrial installations,” he added.

For the delegation from the Middle East, it wasn’t all discussions and networking. A host of activities was lined up by the organisers to savour the spirit of Toulouse, a city of heritage and a land of adventure, exhibitions, concerts, and festivals.

Rendez-vous en France’s Welcome Evening was a unique affair with the event held at the Musee Aeroscopia, a majestic setting indeed. A unique museum located close to the Airbus plant in Blagnac, Southern France, it boasts a rich collection of legendary aircraft linked to the history of Toulouse and the surrounding region, such as Concorde, the Airbus A300B, or the Super Guppy, as well as military aircraft. It was a fascinating evening for the ‘one big family gathering’ in the company of the gigantic ‘flying machines.’

Moving on to the limitless skies, the delegation from the Middle East also visited La Cite de l’espace, Europe’s unique theme park dedicated to space exploration in the heart of Toulouse. A star attraction for space enthusiasts, it has full-scale models of the 180-ft Ariane 5 rocket, Mir, and Soyuz modules, as well as a planetarium.

The next stopover was the la halle de la machine museum that houses animatronic and interactive exhibits, as well as the 46-ft-long Asterion the Minotaur and some 200 atypical show machines.

The afternoon schedule kicked off with a visit to some of the landmark sites in in the Pink City that celebrate iconic French architecture.

The highlight of the Toulouse visit was undoubtedly the evening at the Victor Hugo Market – it was as if the whole of France had opened the doors to its Gastronomic Paradise and was feeding the 1,900 guests inside it with some of its signature dishes. Free-flowing wine (fresh from 16 renowned growing regions), cheese, the freshest of seafood, meat, chocolate, traditional sweets, bread, fruits, and vegetables - you name it and it was all there – and in abundance along with some live Jazz, Rock, and techno music.

As a special gesture, the traders in France’s oldest covered market had opened their stalls exclusively for a night to the guests of Atout France to give them a taste of France’s ‘hidden secrets.’