News from Atout France - The tourism development agency of France
The Press Department of the French Embassy in partnership with Atout France, Rail Europe and its regional partners have organised a familiarization trip to France for 10 days for 6 journalists commencing 22 April. The group includes a mix of editors from reputed magazines such as Verve, Lonely Planet, publication houses such as Burda International (Asia Spa, Asia Pacific Boating, Millionaire Asia & Travel + Leisure) and reputed independent journalists writing for a variety of magazines, daily newspapers and on social media platforms.
Their French agenda includes discoveries of the Pays de la Loire: destinations such as Nantes and La Baule, the Loire Valley – Chateau Country with visits to emblematic castles such as Chinon, Chambord.
Next on their agenda is Bordeaux and medieval St Emilion nestled in the Aquitaine region followed by a visit of the Midi Pyrenees with stays at Toulouse, Montauban and a visit of quaint St Antonin Noble Val, location for the shoot of the “Hundred-Foot Journey” before the last au revoir in Paris which will include visits of the revamped Lido show and the Louis Vuitton Foundation.
Some more news - Just before the setting in of the peak season of outbound travel, the Consular Services of Mumbai and New Delhi in partnership with Atout France – France Tourism Development Agency organised their annual interactive session with key members of the Indian travel companies, on 12 and 17th March respectively.
The chief objectives of this interactive session were:
Announcement of the results of the activities carried out by Atout France and the visa service in 2014, while putting in perspective activities projected for the year 2015;
Creation of new VFS centres to cater to visa demands;
Reaffirming the removal of jurisdictional restraints for visa applications since the end of 2014;
Confirming visa deliverances within 48 hours with effect from 1st December, 2014;
To present facilitative measures implemented for visa deliverances in 2014 and those forecast for 2015;
To alert the travel companies towards the future implementation of biometrics scheduled to take place on 2 November 2015.
Representatives of travel companies present at the meeting lauded the measures put in place and seem to adopt an optimistic attitude for the current season. This confidence has been well illustrated by the gradual increase in programmation of France in European travel itineraries.