Welcome back for this new panel, live from
the Taste of France in Bryant Park, where 100,000 visitors are expected here over the
weekend for what organizers call the largest event about France out of France.
Our 3 guests are working in the tourism industry; their job is to promote France or their region
here in the US. Allow me gentlemen to start with Anne-Laure
Tuncer who is General Manager of Atout France here in the US. Atout France is the organization
in charge with promoting France abroad. So Anne-Laure: France still attracts Americans,
as we can see here.You have got an easy job… Anne-Laure Tuncer: Yes, there is a strong
demand for France here, even more than in the past. All French destinations are in growing.
Didier Martin, you are the president of Bourgogne Tourism Committee. Do you have many Americans
in Bourgogne? Yes! They are our first market for long-haul
trips; there is a strong growth in 2012 and 2013; there is more interest now; the stronger
dollars is in our favor too. We are really working hard here.We came here twice this
year and will do it again next year. Here in New York it’s really dynamic, positive,
and we are very happy to represent Bourgogne here along with other French brands.
What do you have to sell to American tourists?They know wine, maybe not much else about Bourgogne?
Wine, food, the art of living, canal cruises and our historic landmarks, with Dijon, with
Beaunes, it’s really the authentic French destination, alongside with Paris of course,
the biggest port of entry for Americans in France.
Lionel Flasseur, you are a further south, in Lyon.It’s obviously one of the few cities
beyond Paris known in the US.How difficult is it to interest American tourists? They
usually want Paris, Rome, London…How do you manage to insert yourself in this trips?
We manage… Obviously we woudl like for Lyon to be even more known, but we are the second
French city and more American know it. We offer a “city break”, a concentration in a
short time to live and taste France: landmarks, culture, art of living, food in a city that
remains livable where you can easily stroll. When talking about the tourism industry in
France today, everybody dreams about Asia, China, maybe Brazilian, but your job is to
sell France to Americans. What do they dream about when they think about France?
The 3 million Americans who visit France every year come for city tourism, culture, shopping,
food.Of course we have competition in Asia and elsewhere but France is still a legendary
destination for them; our challenge is to tell them: come now, don’t delay your trip…
It France a destination for older people? No doubt France is perceived as “predictable”;
we have our traditional clientele, baby-boomers, they come and come again. X and Y Generations,
it takes more effort to convince them, because they dream of South Africa, Vietnam, Thailand,
Brazil.We have to show them that France is dynamic and our offer is constantly renewed.
For example Marseille 2013, European culture Capita, shown that French culture is not only
history and past, there is also contemporary culture, that attracts those X and Y Generations.
Didier Martin, you were talking earlier of fluvial tourism, gastronomy.That’s not really
what younger people want. Are clearly positioned as a more mature destination?
There are young epicureans, young hedonists.It’s very romantic to come in Bourgogne, to cruise
the rivers, having a drink on a terrace in Dijon or Beaune. It attracts a lot of people.
It’s a honeymoon for all ages. There are a lot of cliches about France here
in the US. Lyon is all about traditions, it is what you surf on when you are promoting
Lyon? Yes we are capitalizing on this, because that’s
what people come for but we also want to offer modernity. When we talk architecture, we are
going to talk about the Old Lyon, which is registered as a Unesco World Heritage site,
but a few steps away, you discover the new Confluence neighborhood, ultra-modern, very
different.So Lyon is building on its past but in no way do we want to be a “museum city”,
it’s out of question. We always add new and modern elements. Just an exemple: right now
it’s the Biennale of contemporary art for a month and next year it will the Biennale
of contemporary danse. We have many very popular cultural events that appeal to both older
visitors and younger generations. Anne-Laure, your main clientele it’s more
repeating customers? These repeating visitors are well established.We
keep proposing them new offers to renew their interest, but as Lionel said, the current
Biennale attracts those young visitors, X an Y generation, who are looking for this
in Miami, Istambul, even in Bale, but it’s true we have this product in France. That’s
what we push to appeal to them. The babyboomers will stay a priority for us, but we put our
focus on X and Y generation. A few regions from France are here, don’t
you fight against each other for tourists who alredeay decided to come to France or
Europe and have to decide between Cote d’Azur or Bourgogne…
It’s not really the case. Actually we work together on the American market. We had an
operation a few months ago at Macy’s; a few month earlier, we were in New York to show
off our Wine routes, with Alsace, Champagne and Bourgogne with a very original offer.And
tomorrow we will also go with Belgians, and marry Wine and Beer.That might be bold, but
interesting. The idea is to string together different stopovers.We have to renew the offer,
invent a new offer, and Wine routes are in high demand.
In Lyon you have a lot of “food tourism” I suppose…
Yes we have a lot, but they don’t come only for this.Today, figures show that the average
stay in Lyon is now at 3.7days.So we are now well beyond the short week-end.
Second interesting figure, 83% of people come to Lyon for Lyon, as a final destination.
So we are far from the city you just go through on your way to your vacation or just stop
for a day. And those figures were confirmed by Trip Advisor, that placed us as the 4th
tourism destination in France for Trip advisors users, after Paris, Cannes and Nice. Who would
have believed so a few years ago that Lyon would be in the Top 5 of tourism destinations
in France. This idea many people have in France that
American tourists come to do Europe and go to 5 countries in 6 days and go back home,
that’s not the case anymore? That has changed. These large trips of 15days
15 countries are over; but still we have many tour operators offering London-Paris, or France-Germany,
Switzerland-France, Italy-France… There is also an offer from rental car companies
that allow you to take a car in Paris and leave it in Berlin…It’s easier and they
enjoy it. And it’s true there is no competition between region inside France, and we even
work with other European countries, because real competition is Europe versus Asia, Europe
versus South America, we are all united to arouse even more interest for France.
There has been a lot of talks these last few weeks of the renewed French American friendship,
political alliance.Is it the kind of things that from your experience has some impact?
Obviously, that was big in 2003/2004… I am convinced that when a great political
leader, a president, comes to a place, it gives to his people the desire to come.So
if Mr Obama, and Michele Obama, want to stay in Bourgogne, I invite them in Dijon ant then
they can go to Lyon. Celebrities, from entertainment or politic, they are all people we need to
seduce, convince to come.We have assets; other have too.
To answer your question about the link between politic and tourism, there is also the business
tourism.It’s very much linked not only to the economy, but also to the links existing
between our two countries. In Lyon, business tourism is well developed, we are the second
city for it.We shouldn’t discriminate: people come for business and they want to come back
for leisure.Business tourism is really a strategic issue for Lyon. We increased our hotel capacity,
our ability to welcome large events to stay in the race and make sure we are recognized
for this too. Thank you all for joining us here.That’s all
for this day of live show from Taste of France. It’s still going on here all day on Sunday
in Bryant park, in Manhattan.