France Bids A Warm But Careful “Bienvenue”

Left to right: Elliott Silverstein, Director, Government Relations, CAA; Karen Acs, Manager Specialty Sales Quebec, Air Canada; Caterina Pintus, Head of Marketing & Tourism Promotion, Aeroports de Paris
Left to right: Elliott Silverstein, Director, Government Relations, CAA; Karen Acs, Manager Specialty Sales Quebec, Air Canada; Caterina Pintus, Head of Marketing & Tourism Promotion, Aeroports de Paris

Advisors try to juggle the tons of data they receive – data that can change, country by country and day by day. What are the protocols anyway?

To help clarify where France stands in all of that, Atout France (the French tourist board), in partnership with Air Canada, Paris Airports and CAA Travel Insurance, held a travel forum last week to discuss what’s new across the country, host one-on-one meetings between French suppliers and agents/media, and spell out where Canadian visitors stand when it comes to COVID.

Entry requirements can be found at Air Canada’s Travel Ready site. Agents can check requirements to enter all destinations served by AC, and, equally important, verify current requirements for re-entry to Canada.

While in France, a proof of vaccination is necessary to enter a host of public places including restaurants, museums, theatres and so on – full details can be found here.

From AC, first the good news: even during COVID, they never suspended service to CDG, and now are up to 12 weekly flights from YUL and 5 from YYZ. Additionally, AC’s Maple Leaf business class lounge, located right at CDG, is available to non B-class pax for a fee of €42. What a great way for clients to treat themselves – or for agents to treat special clients!

As Karen Asc of AC pointed out, each passenger receives an on-board Clean Care Kit with mask, sanitizer and wipes; and meals are now delivered pre-packaged all on one tray. (Air Canada’s “travel journey” tab on the AC site will provide clients with inflight service details for their flights, even menus.)

Caterina Pintus of Aeroports de Paris spelled out some of the many health protocols now in place (“It’s a challenge to keep people safe while avoiding long queues”) and the lengths they are going to in order to keep travellers up to date: their site has been updated 500 times since January last year. Savvy agents who want to minimize their clients’ stress should recommend La Conciergerie for meet-and-greet and general – but not literal! – hand-holding service.

Lastly, Elliott Silverstein of CAA reminded participants that the pandemic has brought the importance of travel insurance – for travellers of any age – into clear focus, and that clients who believe they have full coverage through their credit card or employer may not in fact have coverage for Covid and should check their policies carefully.

Martha Chapman

Columnist

An OJ columnist since 2006, Martha is responsible for the Biting Questions series as well as special seasonal series. She can often be seen On The Town covering industry events. Known to all in the biz, Martha has worked her entire career in travel, beginning as a teenaged hotel receptionist in Bermuda.

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