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‘Our target is to make India rank among the Top 10 inbound source markets’

With the Paris Region set to host the Rugby World Cup and Olympics 2024, Christophe Decloux, Managing Director, Visit Paris Region talks to TravelBiz Monitor about recovery post Covid, preparedness of the destination to host these large scale sporting events, and direct air access.


@Cedric Helsly

Q. Paris has been the most popular destination for travellers to Europe as well as France. How do you plan to maintain this position?
In September 2023, we will be hosting the Rugby World Cup, and most of the games will happen in the Paris Region and Stade de France. The destination is ready to welcome all travellers and visitors. We are offering visitors landing at our airports and inquiring at the information desk a digital route map on their phones of sites and ways to explore the destinations of their choice With our monuments, historical sites and customer experiences, the Paris Region is positioned to remain on top of the mind recall for visitors.

We are hosting the Olympics in the summer of 2024, and therefore have positioned sports as the centerpiece of our activities to showcase the surroundings of the stadiums hosting the tournaments. It is important for spectators coming for the Games to experience our destination like never before.

Q. In terms of accommodation, are there any new openings in the pipeline?
The Paris Region has 160,000 rooms, so there is no problem in terms of accommodation options. Our Region has more rooms than in Europe, and there is also a choice of vacation rentals and Airbnb stays available.

Q. Where does India rank in the pecking order of priority markets for Paris Region Tourist Board?
Our target is to make India rank among the Top 10 inbound source markets. By end of 2023 or early 2024, we are coming to India with different suppliers to propose new dedicated offers and experiences to the market.

The Indian travellers are really keen to visit monuments and sites showcasing the French civilization and history. Indians have a great civilization with lot of rich history, and they are keen to discover our historical past. We are developing the Indian market; and are really keen on making Indians return to the destination, and let them know of different destinations to visit.

Q. How important is B2B market post Covid?
Rendezvous en France is the biggest international tourism show that we have in France, and this year it was hosted in Paris. Our international partners like tour operators and travel agents are our first ambassadors in proposing and communicating with customers on different offers that we offer as a destination. For us they are a key to develop the clientele; we do talk to B2C to create an inspiration to travel to France and Paris; but we need support of our B2B partners to execute our plans.

Q. How are you tapping the MICE segment from India?
Paris sees a good traffic from leisure travellers. However, we can see that the MICE is not bouncing back as fast as we wish post Covid as there are less meetings coming into the destination. We want to attract premium leisure customers and seminars, congresses, conferences and corporate incentives. For that we have different proposals and partners that help us in securing those trips. The Gulf carriers are getting people from South East Asia to Europe with a stopover at their hubs where travellers indulge in airport shopping. We want visitors come directly to Europe and Paris, and start their trip spending in our airports and destinations.

Q. Over the next five years, are you making any significant investments in terms of revising marketing budget for India?
We don’t have a plan yet, because we are looking at the way every market is responding. Because 2022 is going to be the first complete year of travel post pandemic. Therefore, we are seeing how the different markets are stabilizing considering the air capacity. Destinations are suffering in different regions of the world due to the curtailed air capacity. Because of pandemic, a lot of legacy airlines have put away their fuel consumable airplanes to replace them by neo engines. Airbus and Boeing are facing a delay of two years in delivering airplane orders. Therefore, a lot of air traffic is still at curtailed capacity.

We are now opening new routes in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and different airports from India will be connected to Paris with Air France and other airlines gradually improving their capacity. We invest in countries where there is a direct connection.

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