The Cote d’azur, known as the French Riviera, is courting South-east Asian travellers as ASEAN rises as France’s second largest Asian market after China.
The Cote d’Azur Tourism Board has over some years promoted the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France in India and China, claiming a 50 per cent growth in the Indian market this year.
Eric Dore, Comite Regional du Tourisme Cote d’Azur’s managing director, said: “We have more than 150 nationalities that visit the region, and we can’t promote everywhere in the world so we choose to focus (on one market) at a time. Every year we develop new markets. And now we’ve decided to invest in South-east Asia.”
South-east Asia’s economy has also grown, resulting in higher-spending individuals who are willing to spend on longhaul travel, he said.
In fact, according to Dore, Europeans spend an average of 80 euros (US$94) a day in the Cote d’zur while Singaporeans, for example, spend 120 euros a day.
Longhaul travellers from South-east Asia usually spend a week or more there compared to Europeans who make up 80 per cent of the inbound tourist segment and stay four to five nights.
Aside from Singapore, both Atout France and the Cote d’Azur Tourism Board also visited Indonesia.
Morad Tayebi, Atout France’s regional director ASEAN, said Singapore is a mature market with the tendency to produce repeat travellers who head to places like the Cote d’Azur as they’ve already visited Paris. On the other hand, Indonesians are usually first timers who would head to Paris first.
Indonesia ranked its top ASEAN market in 2016 with 150,000 travellers, followed by Malaysia with 130,000 visitors and Singapore and Thailand with 120,000 visitors each.
Atout France is eyeing other source markets in the region including Vietnam and the Philippines, he said.
Overall, France welcomed 83 million visitors last year, of which 700,000 were from South-east Asia, making it the second largest Asian market for France after China. Atout France is targeting 100 million tourists by 2020.