DUBAI- Marhaba France is the biggest ever B2B Travel Trade event selling destination France in the Middle East and Turkey region. Hosted by Atout France on 2nd/3rd May 2014, in the brand new Sofitel Downtown hotel in Dubai and by invitation only, Marhaba France is an unprecedented platform for exchanges and networking over two days of scheduled meetings and an informal incentive environment between a panel of 50 French suppliers and over 100 of the top travel operators from all over the region.
KARIM MEKACHERA: THIS OPERATION HAS BEEN 2 YEARS IN THE PLANNING
Atout France director Middle East and Turkey director Karim Mekachera said “What an amazing sight to see you all together at last under one roof. This operation has been 2 years in the planning and we hope that the buzz which we could hear in the workshop rooms this morning translates into good business.
This is easily the most important travel trade B 2 B event for the promotion of France in this region ever staged. A lot is at stake – you have all invested time and effort into participating at Marhaba France and for good reasons:
- We have travel operators here from 10 countries – no other Atout France office covers so many countries.
- In 2013, the Middle East and Turkey region was the fastest growing provider of inbound tourism for France after the Chinese market. It grew by 20% in one year.
- The potential remains immense but it is necessary to come here and meet the travel trade to seize the opportunities. You are the Pıvotal players in the game of providing visitors to France from this region with what they need. Your meetings will contribute towards strengthening the relationship between France and this immense region.
- Lastly and most important – we all need to keep an eye open and be aware of changing patterns. In other words, we must stay ahead of the game and here I am addressing my French colleagues : – we must listen to our partners on the ground here in the Middle East , to know what their clients are asking for and to be aware of the new trends..........
Trends such as:
- An increasing spread of travel throughout the year, not just the periods either side of Ramadan
- We see an interest in new regions and different parts of France
- Visitors are looking for new activities and things to do
- Also, we note that visitors are asking for even greater attention to detail and service!
POINT SUR LES PARTENAIRES - :
Let me introduce our French partners
- We have Paris with the Paris Tourist Office and a great many of the major hotels
- Rhone-Alpes region, with the city of Lyon and a number of winter and summer resorts
- For the first time we have Vichy Spa – unjustly not as well known as it should be here
- Normandy is represented by Deauville Tourist Office – Barrière Hotels is also present here with a major resort hotel in Deauville
- The ever popular South of France and the French Riviera are present with representatives from the region and from some of the most famous resort cities: Nice and Cannes, not to forget Monaco
- Importantly we have a handful of incoming agencies – extremely important links in the chain as service providers
We also have a brand new Minister for Tourism since a few weeks ago: Mme Fleur Pellerin, as Secretary of State with a specific mission in charge of promoting France through the overseas network and Atout France in particular. This promises to be an interesting and challenging period.
Travel operators attending the event come from 10 countries: Sultanate of Oman, United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrein, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
The partner exhibitor list includes the top French destinations, including Paris, the Rhone-Alps summer and winter sport resorts, major resorts of the French Riviera from Cannes to Monaco, top hotels and incoming operators...
Atout France in Dubai, the French tourism ministry’s office for the Middle East and Turkey markets, is totally focused on supporting the regional travel operators; as Karim Mekachera, Regional Director for Atout France, says: “The Middle East continues to represent a key market for inbound tourism to France with nearly 20% increase in visitor numbers in 2013. Potential is immense, but what is important is to keep pace with the growing and changing needs of travellers from MENA.”
The success of Marhaba France should make it an annual event in every top travel operator’s calendar of musts.