French Affairs Conference Has Biggest Year Yet

Atout France (France’s Tourism Development Agency) held its seventh annual French Affairs Conference in New York this week.  With more than 140 U.S. tour operators specializing in France and more than 60 French suppliers, this was the largest gathering in the annual event’s history.

In addition to a review of Atout France’s promotional activities to support the travel trade, the event also included several relevant seminars on topics like social networking, sustainable tourism and selling Tahiti. The highlight of the conference was undoubtedly the prestigious French Affairs Awards ceremony where eight lucky tour operators received recognition for their work in promoting and selling France and her overseas territories.


Harry Dalgaard, President of Avanti Destinations, and Anna Karas, Vice President of Concorde Hotels


Avanti Destinations received the “Best Brochure” award at this year’s French Affairs gala dinner and awards ceremony. 


Wally Sumner, President of The Travel Group, Alain Bernard, President of Tahiti Legends, and Nancy Anderson, Director Marketing & Promotions fo Atout France


Tahiti Legends received the “Best France Overseas Territory Offer.”


Christine Ourmières, Vice President & General Manager of Air France USA; Jean-Philippe Pérol, Director of Americas for Atout France; Kelsey Merwick, Marketing Manager for Air France Holidays/Europe Express; Martin Frogatt, President of Air France Holidays/Europe Express; and Irene Lai, Sales Manager for Tour Operators of Air France USA


Air France Holidays received “Best Tour Operator of the Year” award as selected by 1,000 travel professionals and 3,000 consumers.


Laure Dardour, President of


Laure Dardour, President of (winner of the “Most Extensive France Offer” award), is inducted as an honorary member of the Commanderie des Costes du Rhône, a medieval order entrusted with maintaining the authenticity of Costes du Rhône wine and the preservation of the region’s wine cultivation methods.


Aïda Weinum, Promotion Manager USA for St. Martin Tourism Board; Kate Richardson, PR & Communications Manager for St. Martin Tourism Board; and Corinne Picaut, Director of St. Martin Tourism Board


France’s overseas territories were well represented at French Affairs this year, including a delegation from the island of St. Martin. Starting this month, Aïda Weinum will be based at Atout France’s offices in New York to support U.S. travel agents and tour operators.


Annette Choynacki, Director of Visit Belgium


In a spirit of continued solidarity and cooperation, Atout France invited several neighbor countries’ tourism boards to attend French Affairs this year including Annette Choynacki, Director of Visit Belgium.