France Tourism Hopes for Better Times in 2010

It’s a familiar scene. Kent and I drove into Manhattan last night and once again we got that sense that we had come to the right place. The occasion was a media show by France Tourism, a combination of Air France, Rail Europe and tourism officials from Normandy and Rhone Alpes, along with the people who run A Tout France in New York.

We learned about what 2009 was like for tourism in the world’s most popular tourist destination–down nearly four percent. We found some excitement, though in two areas, and that was worth celebrating with Rhone red wine and rare lamb on a stick. The new A380 airplane is making Air France big money and the representative claimed that flying transatlantic on this giant beast is something ‘completely different than any other flying experience.’

Sony Stark already raved to us
about her chance to ride in the plane, so we know now she’s not the only person wowed by the mood lighting, six bars and three levels of service on the A380. The other thing that one of the panelists was excited about for 2010 was trains. The resurgence of high-speed rail in the US has prompted a huge interest in taking the trains of Europe. There is a new high-speed line that takes people from Paris to Berlin and then overnight to Moscow.

In our business, we’re always optimistic–and judging from the many writers and producers we ran into at the event, everyone is hoping for a fantastic 2010, in France and around the traveling world.