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Tuesday, 07 July, 2015, 10 : 00 AM [IST]

‘Our vision is to develop Picardy as a region where tourism is based on human connections’

True to its brand, ‘Human Friendly – Esprit de Picardie’, Picardy is putting the customer firmly at the centre of all its strategies, Jean-Philippe Gold, Director, Picardy Tourism, tells TravelBiz Monitor
Jean Philippe GoldQ. How do you plan to compete with other popular destinations and regions in France that have been attracting tourists so far?
Picardy Tourism focuses on positioning the region as an add-on destination to Paris, because of its proximity and strategic location between Paris, London, and Amsterdam. Our region unravels the glorious history of France, dating from the Middle Age, defined by the finest Gothic cathedrals of Europe, to the glorious imperial French history represented in the elegant castles like Chantilly, Compiègne and Pierrefonds, and not to forget the Great War which was fought in Picardy.

The compact size of the region makes it easy for us to bring out the diversity of our offerings to visitors – from urban city travel, Rural Tourism, evasion through nature trails in the magnificent Bay of Somme, luxury indulgence in French royal castles, and the Champagne Touristic Trail which begins in Picardy.

Our vision is to develop Picardy as a region where tourism is based on human connections and impactful exchanges between visitors and the people of Picardy who make this region even more special. Our brand, ‘Human Friendly’, aptly aims to achieve this goal of offering hospitality to our guests which is uniquely Picard.

Q. How will you position Picardy for visitors?
Picardy Tourism is constantly bringing out the essence of our region as a human experience, rather than a tourism product. We wish to offer travel memories before, during and after the holiday by adding a distinct emotion to holidays.

True to our brand ‘Human Friendly – Esprit de Picardie’, we concentrate and capitalise our strategy around people – the customer at the epicenter to personalise every experience, and the people of Picardy to offer expert advice “like a friend” to help our guests appreciate and feel the spirit of Picardy.

Q. What is your strategy for promoting Picardy?
The customer is at the heart of our strategy in order to personalise the holiday, which varies to a large extent if the travellers are a romantic couple or a family or even a business traveller. Full immersion is a key focus area for us, be it cultural, historical or natural. We leverage around the ubiquitous French Art de Vivre, nature connect in the lush green forests around Paris, bird watching at the Bay of Somme, World War Tourism with the ongoing centenary celebrations, history trails around the Gothic cathedrals, French royalty and many more unique selling experiences.

Q. Which are the main source markets for Picardy Tourism and which are the potential ones?
. Due to the strategic location, Picardy is a very popular destination not only for French guests but also British, Dutch, and Belgian clients. In fact, more than 35 per cent of overnight stays in Picardy are represented by British guests. Effective direct marketing actions are elaborated to inspire and connect our European guests.

Further, the two strategic markets where we seek new growth opportunities are China and India. Unlike the European Union, these two markets follow a significantly different business model with the travel trade as mediators. For a smooth understanding of the travel trade requirements and subsequently the visitor, Picardy Tourism benefits from competencies of local natives as Business Development Managers who are a bridge between our offerings and the customer.

Q. How do you propose to make Picardy a must-visit destination for tourists and the trade community?
Our guiding principles to drive long-term growth are innovation, experiential travel and people-centric partnerships. Picardy Tourism hugely invests in innovation to be ahead of the race. We constantly use emerging marketing tools to reach out to new customers. To strengthen marketing efforts, we deploy a combination of media relations, social media, travel trade and consumer direct marketing as appropriate to the target market. With the help of our partners, we are developing new practices and elevating the concept of travel in the minds of our consumer.

Moreover, the tactical choice of collaborating with a Chinese and Indian native is displaying positive results. They are able to adapt to the flavour of our offerings to match the requirements of these respective markets. Keeping in mind the desires of the guests, successful partnerships have been created between our players and the travel trade.

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