France to launch campaign to claw back Gulf business

Guest Writer

French tourism body Atout France has said it will focus its marketing strategy on attracting High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) from the Middle East.
The bid to attract high-spending tourists from the region comes as the state-owned body, formerly Maison de la France, looks to offset the 6% drop in Middle East visitors to France in the first half of 2009.
But the country does have its work cut out if the French Government’s plans to ban the full-face veil - for French residents and tourists - is given the go ahead (see TDME 29 April).
Atout France Near and Middle East Regional Office Director Karim Mekachera is yet to comment on the impact on tourism of plans to ban the veil, however, he has outlined the reasons behind his strategy to target HNWIs from the region.
“Travellers from the Middle East and Near East are high contributors to the economy of France tourism in terms of their liberal spending habits and long stays and we believe that their share in the global outbound flows to our country is as yet not unlocked fully,” he explained.
However, he pointed out that although the Middle East market was one of the top contributors to French tourism coffers, it still accounted for just 2% of the country’s total tourist arrivals.
“We believe this share can easily go up as France presents new destinations and offer the best of attractions in the world,” Mekachera said.
He said the average stay of a tourist from the region was 11 days.
“What is of significance is that travellers from the region are high-end clientele for France’s tourism and this realisation will be the base for our onward strategy to woo the affluent bitten by the travel bug from the Middle and Near East,” he continued.
Atout France Middle East was therefore in the throes of rolling out a series of meaningful promotional activities to present the compelling charm and diversity to the region’s travel community.
A major share of the current traveller profile from the region is families, couples and the youth market.
The new marketing strategy of Atout France will give more significance to attracting leisure travellers, with a secondary focus on business travellers.
This year Atout France and 32 travel trade partners took part in Arabian Travel Market (ATM).  
They included: Deauville Tourist Office, Hotel Le Bristol Paris, The Hotel Napoleon Paris ,Hotels & Residences Roy - Hotel California,- Concorde Hotels & Resorts, The Plaza Elysees BW Hotel Paris,  Bridgestreet Accommodation Paris ,  Lucien Barriere Group ,Venus Tours, Chabe Limousines, Disneyland Paris, Air France-KLM group, Printemps , Galeries Lafayette, Rhone-Alpes Tourism ,The Imperial Palace , Evian-les-Bains Tourist Office,     Hilton Evian-les-Bains, Evian Royal Resort, Lodge Montagnard ,Imperial Palace,Deluxe Hotel Collection, Cannes Tourist Office, Eden Hotel,Grand Hotel, the 1835 White Palm Hotel,Nice Tourist Office, Negresco Hotel, Boscolo Exedra Nice, Saint Tropez Tourist Office, Hotel Byblos and  Chateau de la Messardiere

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