Provence catches Indian fancy

The region, new to the Indian outbound, is leveraging Paris’ popularity to attract attention and eventually footfalls through its gastronomy, culture and diverse topography.

Hazel Jain from Provence

This year’s Goût de France (Good France) 2019 has chosen Provence as the featured destination that will be showcased at the various events in France and in India through this platform. And about time too that locations other than Paris and South of France get some much-deserved attention from the Indian audience. While Provence is also in the south, it is in the south-east and so therefore gets ignored by the Indian outbound.

Isabelle Bremond, Director General, Provence Tourism, says, “We get very little traffic from India – maybe about two per cent of the total number that visits France. For now, we are benefitting from Paris’ popularity. We see huge potential in the India market and it is one of the international markets we want to develop and do more work here. The outbound numbers from India are huge and we would like to come to India to tap this. We are definitely preparing a suitable strategy for this.”

The tourism board has an online programme but it is only for its local vendors for them to understand the international markets. Bremond adds, “We have diverse offerings in terms of gastronomy, topography with quaint villages, mountains and the sea. Having met a lot of Indian buyers at this year’s Rendezvous en France, I understand that Indians want high-end luxury products.”

The biggest international source markets for Provence right now is the USA, Canada, and Korea, Japan and China in Asia. Its biggest city of Marseilles also benefits from cruise tourism welcoming almost two million passengers every year. “Provence also has a lot of vegetarian food options since it is an agricultural territory and vegetarian food is a way of life here,” she adds clarifying a query about food options available for Indians.

Sheetal Munshaw, Director – India, Atout France, says, “While Paris is still the undisputed leader, Rhone-Alpes, Occitanie, and Northern France are picking up now with lots of growth in the FIT numbers. There is also a larger night share due to the different kind of experiences France offers. There is also a Telugu film that is being shot in the South of France. India is a priority market and we have not seen a slump in numbers in the last five years.”

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