Minister Fabius meets tourism professionals to promote France as a tourist destination
On the occasion of his visit to India, from June 30th to July 1st, 2014, H.E. Mr Laurent Fabius, Foreign Affairs and International Development Minister of France, met tourism professionals in Mumbai on Tuesday 1st July to promote France as a preferred tourist destination to Indian visitors.
To download the copyright free images of the ceremony, visit Flickr page of the French Embassy.
A selection of Indian travel professionals attended this event, during which the Minister announced new measures to further boost France’s image as a welcoming destination for Indian tourists:
For Indian tourists, French visas will be issued within 48 hours as of 1st January 2015.
Furthermore, an official application for smartphones and tablets, has been designed for Indian tourists travelling to France. This free app, which will be launched in summer 2014, will initially focus on Paris and destinations in France.
Welcoming 83 million foreign tourists, France is ranked as the world’s top tourist destination. The dynamic tourism sector is rapidly transforming itself under the effect of a new emerging clientele. Today, Asia accounts for a growing number of foreign tourists in France, which also includes a rising number of Indian tourists. France welcomes an estimated 3,00,000 visitors from India annually, a number which has seen a steady increase in the last few years.
A National Conference on Tourism, mobilizing all public and private players in the sector, including local governments, was held from November 2013 to June 2014, in order to define a programme of actions created to make France a destination for the future. Speaking at the close of a national conference on tourism, H.E. Mr Laurent Fabius declared that “the government had fixed a target of attracting 100 million foreign tourists annually”.
Trends in tourism :
Indian Tourists enjoy diverse touristic experiences offered by France and its regions: the appeal of visiting iconic monuments in Paris, with the city’s unmatched cultural life, seaside resorts on the French Riviera and mountain retreats are top reasons why the Indian traveller plans a holiday to France. With 55 million skier days sold, France is also the world’s top skiing destination.
Furthermore, there is an growing number of discerning Indian travellers who visit wine regions such as Bordeaux-Aquitaine, Champagne-Ardenne, Dijon-Burgundy and the Loire Valley. Wine tourism is one of our most dynamic industries, with 24 million visitors a year.
France is also perceived as the ultimate luxury shopping destination, with globally renowned brands such as Chanel, Dior, Vuitton, Hermès or Louboutin.
VAT-exemption for foreign tourists in France contributes to enhancing the country’s popularity as a shopping destination.
Although a majority of Indian travellers visit France as part of escorted tour packages, the last few years have seen a steady increase in the number of independent travellers. This segment consists of families, DINKs and honeymooners besides others.
Recent trends indicate that experiential travel is gaining favour amongst Indian visitors and that today’s discerning traveller is ready to include off-beat experiences in his travel agenda. This is an encouraging sign for France which has a repertoire of unique activities and experiences appealing to this genre of travellers and eventually enticing them to plan a French holiday.
The Embassy of France decided to ease visa issuances for Indian visitors in parallel to all the web resources provided by Atout France, the agency for the promotion of tourism in France: http://in.rendezvousenfrance.com/
For independent travellers, following the suspension of biometrics for all visa applications since 1st July, 2013, applicants are not required to personally come to the French Consulate (unless specifically called for an interview).
A series of measures has also been taken in order to ease the process for the travel agencies.
Furthermore, Ambassador RICHIER has decided to open more VFS centers throughout India, beginning with Kochi.