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Rendez-vous en France 2024

"Rendez-vous en France 2024": with its eyes on the Olympic Games, France's great tourism celebration, in Toulouse

22 Apr, 2024

After the event in Paris in 2023 - where it returns every 4 years or so - this year it was the turn of the Pink City, i.e. the stunningly beautiful Toulouse, to take over the organization of "Rendez-vous en France 2024", the largest international professional tourism exhibition in France, which took place on March 26 and 27, was hosted in the state-of-the-art and certified premises of the Exhibition Center "Le Parc des Expositions et Center de Conventions de Toulouse" and offered the wider metropolitan area of ​​the charming city an unprecedented international tourism exposure. "Rendez-vous en France" is organized by the French Tourism Development Organization Atout France and is the leading event of the French tourism industry for international B2B trade. The writer and Vassilis Tsounis, from the publications "Mikres Cyclades - Traveling to the Aegean", were the only invited Greek journalists.

The city of Toulouse, the Haute-Garonne Region and the Occitanie Region were therefore the hosts of the 18th Rendez-Vous en France event, which attracted more than 1.900 leading tourism professionals from around the world, who had the opportunity to discuss the key challenges for offering a more quality, sustainable and inclusive tourism, globally. By choosing Toulouse and the Occitania region as the venue for the Rendez-Vous en France 2024 trade fair, the organizers have chosen a dynamic and resolutely future-oriented destination, given that the region is home to 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 11 natural parks and around 50 of the most beautiful villages in France, offering an unforgettable experience that attracts countless visitors from all over the world.

This year's two-day event has attracted global interest not only because of the flagship event of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, but also thanks to the numerous events that will take place this year in France, among which the 150th Anniversary of Impressionism - the Musée d'Orsay brings together works by Monet, Renoir, Degas and others that first appeared in the landmark exhibition of 1874-, but also the long-awaited reopening of Notre Dame, one of France's most popular tourist attractions, destroyed by fire in April 2019; with its restoration projects now exceeding five years, due to delays mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It should be noted here that the upcoming Summer Olympic Games of 2024 include 15 days of Olympic sports and 10 days of Paralympic games with venues not only in Paris, but also in 16 more French cities, including the overseas island of Tahiti. The Paris Tourist Office expects around 15,9 million people to be the potential visitors to the wider city area between July and September, when the games and many other events will take place.

Equally important will be the commemorations of the 80th anniversary of the Allied D-Day landings on June 6, 1944, when the Allied Forces launched the largest amphibious invasion the world has ever seen. To commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Normandy, which led to the liberation of France and Europe, a rich and unprecedented program of events is being prepared, which will rekindle the memory of this tragic period in world history, while emphasizing the spirit of hope.

During the two-day event “Rendez-vous en France 2024”, more than 600 leading French companies presented their products and services to approximately 850 tour operators, travel consultants and other stakeholders, as well as prestigious journalists, coming from most of the 62 countries from all over the world. The impressive number of 26.256 scheduled business meetings demonstrated the undoubted success of the event and the clear intention of international tour operators to strengthen ties with their French partners. 

Under the truly radical slogan "Dream big, live slow", international visitors are invited to France to enjoy unforgettable, eco-friendly travel experiences, which French tourism officials encourage them to discover at their own pace and with complete freedom. That is why this year, as part of the national strategy for tourism, Atout France has partnered with France Vélo Tourisme to focus on strengthening the practice of cycle tourism, setting the ambitious goal of making France a global hub for cycle tourism, with horizon 2030. Finally, France's 13 Regional Tourism Organizations and around 20 companies in the sector are coming together as part of the campaign under the banner "#ExploreFrance", urging us to "Explore France" and promoting French destinations internationally.

Frédéric Meyer, Director of Atout France for Italy and Greece, who participated in the Rendez-vous en France 2024 Meeting, told us: “Both in 2024 and 2023 France has undertaken the organization of very important international sporting events. In addition to the Olympic Games (O.A.) Paris 2024, which will take place in the summer of 2024, France hosted in the fall of 2023 the Rugby World Cup 2023 (Rugby World Cup 2023), but also the World Ski Championships. All this means more visitors and of course more profits for France's tourism industry, as it is expected to be the most visited country in the world by 2025. Last year, tourism in France generated 65 billion euros, an amount that represents 8% of A.E.P. of the country. In 2024 we are moving in the same direction, having undertaken the organization of the world's most important event, the Olympic Games, which I believe will definitely make 2024 a very special year for the history of tourism in France. In the summer of 2024 we will also have the Tour de France, the annual Tour de France, cycling's most famous sporting event. So we expect many international visitors to France in 2024 and note that only for O.A. we are confident that around 13 million tickets will be sold. 2024 will be a great year for French tourism."

"I believe - and we believe - that the Olympic Games," emphasizes Frédéric Meyer, "will be very important for France, in many ways. On the one hand they attract new visitors to the country, people who will come for the first time to watch the Games, but will then see this as a great opportunity to visit France as well. And I don't necessarily mean people who will have bought tickets to watch the games, but also people who will simply want to take part in the spectacular celebrations and be a part of them, along with the French citizens. We particularly want to attract young visitors to France, on the occasion of the OA, who will be an investment in the future of French tourism and through which the younger generations of "customers", from all over the world, will get in touch with France. On the other hand, the Olympic Games will provide even more values, as they are the first sustainable Games to be organized. Consider that very few new buildings, only 3 or 4 to be exact, are being built for them."

"The biggest events of the Olympic Games", continues Frédéric Meyer "will be hosted in already existing tourist landmarks of Paris, for example in the Champ de Mars, the Eiffel Tower Stadium, beach volleyball matches will be held, in the Grand Palais the corresponding fencing and Tae Kwon Do, while in the emblematic gardens of the Palace of Versailles the sport of horse riding. It will be very important that through the O.A. we will once again show the world our culture and heritage. As for the food part, the products that will be used are planned to come from producers within a radius of up to 250 km from the Olympic venues, while the use of paper and of course plastic will be limited. For all these reasons we consider that O.A. they will be "green", but also an investment for the future of the country!"

Rendez-Vous en France 2024 welcomed its many guests on the evening of Monday 25 March, with a glamorous cocktail party and vegetarian dinner under the wings of legendary aircraft, in the impressive Musée Aeroscopia, which houses more than 25 aircraft, from Caravelle and Concorde to the Airbus 300B, but also jets and helicopters, now silent witnesses of the development history of the aviation industry. After all, don't forget that Airbus is based here in Toulouse and the city is a leader in space projects, and it's no wonder that Toulouse is also known as the Space Capital of Europe, even having its own center space flight discovery, the famous Cité de l'Espace.

The famous Soirée France of the second evening was organized in the Les Halles Victor Hugo market, which hosts the city's leading food producers, many of whom continue a family tradition for many generations. All participants had the opportunity to experience unforgettable moments of pleasure, in the heart of an emblematic place of the French art of living, tasting local specialties and getting a taste of the French's passionate relationship with food.

The Rendez-Vous en France concluded with a total of 53 participant familiarization trips, in regions throughout France, where culture, traditions, gastronomy, wine, seas and mountains, truly captivated those who had the opportunity to be introduced to the secrets their.

 Musee Aeroscopia Soiree France at Les Halles Victor Hugo market

Frederic Meyer Director of Atout France for Italy Greece General Manager of Atout France Caroline Leboucher

A few words about Toulouse


Once upon a time, about 10.000 years ago and after the last ice age, the Garonne river receded abruptly, leaving behind large areas covered with clay, a special clay, with a striking pink color, due to its high concentration of oxide of iron. Combined with the scarcity of stone in the area, this abundance of pink clay led the Romans to export it and produce bricks, a building material that is economical and easy to manufacture and at the same time friendly to the environment. These red-pink bricks, used as a building material as early as the 1st century AD, for the construction of both the houses and mansions of Toulouse, as well as its religious and other official buildings, have "stamped" the local architecture of the city, which is rightly called La Ville Rose (The Pink City), a term that officially appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, on the cover of a brochure of the Toulouse Tourist Office. As the sun caresses the city, the buildings take on hues ranging from pink to purple, depending on the time, the season and the intensity of the light!

Based on its rich historical and cultural past, Toulouse today faces the future and embodies boldness, innovation and appeal. Capital of the Occitanie Region, Toulouse has emerged as a key destination for business tourism and has unrivaled accessibility with Toulouse-Blagnac Airport offering connections to nearly 80 global destinations alongside a wealth of rail links. The variety and quality of accommodation in Toulouse will fully satisfy the expectations of the most demanding international buyers, while the city also offers a wealth of entertainment venues, as well as historical or contemporary institutions, as well as the iconic Aéroscopia Museum.




main photo: SophieML / https://pixabay.com 

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