French Ambassador's Travel Awards Soiree

By ATF | Published on June 26, 2015
  • © ATF

    © ATF

French Ambassador's Travel Awards Soiree

French Ambassador's Travel Awards Soiree in Mumbai
Awards and Accolades for Travel Companies 

A unique initiative was launched by H.E. Mr François Richier, Ambassador
of France to India
, as a token of appreciation for travel agencies that have programmed
France in their published travel itineraries.The initiative culminated in the
French Ambassador's Travel Awards soiree,
which took place at the Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, on 25th June 2015.

A series of positive developments over the last two years have resulted
in a stronger positioning of France as a travel destination. These include effective
visa facilitation measures, in particular visa issuance within 48 hours and the
opening of new VFS centres all across India. The number of visas issued by
French Consulates in India increased by 60% in January-May 2015 as compared to
the same period in 2014. A study conducted by Atout France on tour programming trends
between 2013 and 2015 also reflects this development. Taking as a base travel itineraries
prepared by 30 travel agencies, the analysis brought to light a staggering 166%
increase in the inclusion of France in travel itineraries and a 148% increase
in the allotment of bed nights for France. This encouraging development led to
the creation of the French Ambassador's Travel Awards, aimed at identifying, acknowledging
and rewarding travel companies for their endeavours in the promotion of France
as a tourist destination.   

Launched in the form of a contest in April 2015, the Ambassador's
Travel Awards encouraged travel agencies to submit their published travel
itineraries that promoted France as a mono-destination with  a minimum of 5 nights in the country. Close to
100 itineraries were received, out of which 10 itineraries were shortlisted and
judged by an eminent panel of jury members associated with the travel and
tourism industry. Five winners were then selected with prizes divided into the
following two categories:

1. Best Promotion of France through Travel Itineraries - 3 awards. The Winners are :


A trip for two to France. Their French experience commences in the
cocooned comfort of business class travel courtesy Air France. Travelling
within France will be a smooth ride with the complimentary France Rail Passes
offered by Rail Europe.
Thanks to the active participation of our French
regions, our winners will experience a stay in Pays de la Loire (Nantes and La
Baule), Centre Val de Loire (Tours and its surroundings), Aquitaine (Bordeaux
and its surroundings), Midi- Pyrenées (Toulouse, the charming villages of Midi-Pyrenées
and Lourdes) and Paris.
  While in Paris,
our winners will have the chance to experience culinary encounters in the form
of a baking workshop offered by Le Cordon Bleu, and an entertaining evening
comprising a dinner, a show and a private visit of the Paradis Latin. They will
enjoy the best of Parisian hospitality at Hotel Scribe, courtesy Accor Hotels.


A relaxing 2-night/3-day stay at the very exclusive Relais &
establishment - Purity in Kerala, courtesy Relais & Chateaux


A 2-night/3-day stay at the Grand Mercure Shrem Resort in Goa, courtesy
the Accor Group of Hotels

2: Winners of the Exemplary Achievements in Visa Issuance:

DIAMOND AWARD - THOMAS COOK INDIA LTD for registering the highest
number of visa issuances.

A Spa La Vie by L'Occitane Wellness treatment experience for two and
a gift hamper, courtesy L'Occitane.

GOLD AWARD - COX AND KINGS LTD for registering the best growth in  French visa issuance

A gourmet dinner for two, courtesy Le Cordon Bleu, at the Sassy
Spoon in Mumbai


During this event, Ambassador Richier said, "In 2014, France
was again the number one global tourist destination in terms of volumes, with
83.7 million visitors. We welcomed 359,000 Indian visitors in 2014. I was extremely
pleased to learn of the proactive support extended by travel agencies in India,
which resulted in a staggering 166% increase in the inclusion of France in
travel itineraries. All these positive developments will continue to forge the
links and mutual understanding between France and India, two countries of great
heritage and culture.”

In addition to the awards ceremony, the evening, which was powered
by VFS Global, was also the occasion to bid farewell to Ms Catherine Oden,
Director - Atout France in India, who will be soon leaving India to take up her
next assignment in China. Ms Oden will be succeeded by Ms Sheetal
Wadhwa-Munshaw, Director - Avant Garde Consulting and Representative of Chamonix
Mont Blanc in India.Ms Munshaw has also served as the former Deputy Director
of Atout France in India.

Sharing her thoughts, Ms Catherine Oden said, "The last 6 years
in India have been a good amalgamation of successful and challenging
experiences. I have enjoyed my time discovering this wonderful country and its warm
and welcoming people. Our endeavours to promote France through promotional and
communication platforms have always been well supported by Ambassador François
Richier, his team, the trade, and the press, for which I would like to express
my sincere gratitude."

Invited guests were treated to a delectable spread of Indo-French
delicacies well paired with French wines and champagne. The performance of a
jazz troika featuring the talented Gino Banks  created the perfect musical ambience for a
memorable soiree.

For more information, please contact

Ms Pusha Kothi - Communications Manager,
Atout France in India