France Says “Oui” To Sustainable Travel

If there’s one word that is cropping up more and more in our industry, it’s sustainability. Driven by both consumer demand and real concern about climate change, sustainable travel takes many forms. A lot of which can be discovered in France.

At a media event held at the Sheraton Centre in downtown Toronto on NOV09, the French tourist board Atout France showcased the sustainability efforts of a variety of suppliers ranging from a wine producer to the island of Martinique (still a tropical corner of France), Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and the Juno Beach Centre. A similar event had been held in YUL the previous evening.

Paul-Hus (r) with Quentin Reinhart, Communication/PR Specialist for Atout France

“We had an amazing summer,” said Mélanie Paul-Hus, Director for Canada for Atout France. “Canadians average a 10 day stay with us, so we are keen to have more – but how do we manage the demand while trying to sell the destination in a more manageable way?”

French Consul General in Toronto Tudor Alexis

There are some inventive and outside-the-box solutions happening already. As French Consul General for Toronto Tudor Alexis explained to the group, these include the banning of domestic flights under two hours, encouraging locals and visitors alike to use the extensive rail network.

One attraction which has special sentimental meaning for Canadians is the Juno Beach Centre, a museum and cultural centre which pays homage to the 45,000 Canadians members of the military who lost their lives during World War II. “Most Canadians spend a half to full day there,” Alex Fitzgerald, Executive Director of the Centre told Open Jaw. “It truly exemplifies a bridge between our nations, the Canadians who liberated France and the French who were liberated.”

Vincent Gauthier-Doré, Senior Director, Sales – USA for Air Canada

There is no shortage of lift between Canada and France, with Air Canada alone offering year round service at daily between YYZ and CDG; and a generous array of flights from YUL to CDG, LYS (Lyon), NCE (Nice) and new, starting 01JUN: TLS (Toulouse)

In other Atout France news, the tourist board plans to launch a 14 module Travel Agent Specialist Program featuring education nearly every region in the country.

Find out more at France.fr, which has an extensive selection of sustainable ways for clients to experience la belle vie in France including nature activities, hiking, biking, “slow mode” travel and connecting with the locals.

Martha Chapman

Columnist

An OJ columnist since 2006, Martha 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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