French Affairs Conference Helps Agents, Tour Operators Sell France

At the close of its two-day trade event known as French Affairs, Atout France held a travel agent dinner sponsored by the Languedoc-Roussillon Tourism Board.

More than 100 France certified agents, along with San Francisco Bay area professionals, were present at this festive affair. The highlight of the evening was an awards ceremony, where more than 30 agents were awarded diplomas for completing the Languedoc-Roussillon certification program. Many of the newly minted agents traveled to San Francisco from other states especially for this event.

Atout France created this tailor-made certification program for the region in April and, after six months of courses. Close to 650 agents registered for the program and, in all, 211 agents have become Languedoc-Roussillon certified.

The seventh edition of the Atout French Affairs took place in San Francisco on Sunday, October 24 and Monday, October 25 at the Hotel Nikko on Mason Street. The two-day annual event is the largest annual meeting of American tour operators and French travel industry partners—from regional and city tourist offices to hotel groups. This year’s French Affairs was favored by a strong attendance, gathering a total of 230 professionals: 110 tour operating operators, 78 French suppliers—representing 57 companies and organizations and 22 VIP guests from the trade including Atout France Advisory Board members and other industry related companies, plus most of the Atout France staff in the U.S.

Atout France presented its 2010 results and its 2011 marketing plan during the opening session on Sunday and announced that it would extend the complimentary use of several Internet tools offered last year to participating tour operators:

*    One free article on their product and packages in the Club France consumer newsletter to 500,000 or in the Focus-on-France trade e-news to 22,000 agents
*    Press release assistance and broadcast of all tour operator news in the monthly Press E-News from France to over 4,000 media contacts, plus postings on the press department’s Twitter and Facebook pages
*    Tour operator brochures made available on for free downloads and one complimentary article on their company with an active link to their site
*    Free listing with logo and link on the EZ Reference guide tour operator and travel services search engine on

The highlight of the evening’s Gala dinner sponsored by the Toulouse Tourist Office was the announcement this year’s French Affairs awards including the most prestigious for "Tour Operator of the Year," for which there were two winners this year, one chosen by popular vote on and the second chosen online by the travel trade:

*    Tour Operator of the Year chosen by the travel trade: French Experience
*    Tour Operator of the Year chosen by consumers:
*    Most active partner: Air France Holidays/Europe Express
*    Best Website: Avanti Destinations
*    Best Special Interest Product: Food N'Wine Vacations
*    Most diverse and extensive offer:
*    Most creative tour operator on Social Media Networks: Discover France
*    Best Overseas Offer: Travel Impressions



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