“The World in Paris” with the World Tourism Fair

JPEG The Salon mondial du Tourisme – World Tourism Fair – at the Paris Exhibition Centre from 18 to 21 March 2010 will bring together all the key players in French and international tourism. Over 100,000 visitors are expected including both professionals and the general public. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the new destinations offered by the tourism industry and to immerse yourself in cultures and flavours from all over the world. From Poland to South Africa, through Croatia, Provence, Normandy and Lorraine, the gateways to travel are open to French visitors, keen travellers who are receptive to meeting new people and learning about different cultures.

Over a four-day period the World Tourism Fair – or Le Monde à Paris (MAP), the World in Paris – will welcome over 500 exhibitors from France and abroad (tourist offices, tour operators, travel agencies, cruise operators, specialist travel planners, etc.) in what amounts to France’s biggest travel agency. The 2010 event, dedicated to Culture and Heritage (architectural, artistic, natural, culinary and more), offers numerous highlights and covers new interest areas, such as the thalassotherapy and wellbeing village, as well as original ideas for accommodation and leisure pursuits. Visitors to the Fair who are still weighing up a number of possible destinations, seeking further information or on the look-out for a special holiday idea, will find the MAP the best place to tap into advice for holidays far and near.

Paris is the ideal location for an international tourism fair because not only is France the world’s top tourist destination, but among Europeans the French are the biggest travellers. An MAP survey revealed that 49% of visitors cite culture and heritage as the main focus of their holidays. At many stands, you will be welcomed by specialists who will be only too pleased to give you a foretaste of the world’s most beautiful regions. The World Tourism Fair offers a whole series of events from film screenings, exhibitions and shows of every kind, to talks and tastings.

In France, as in many other countries, thalassotherapy is gaining in popularity. The MAP has created a special area where visitors can learn about the best stress-busting treatments and 100% Zen holidays, and where to find them. This is the kingdom of wellbeing, where you can enjoy living in the present and receiving high-quality treatments in beautiful surroundings. If you are looking for a fitness cure or want to lose a few excess pounds, there is a whole host of possibilities available.

Another first for 2010 is the area devoted to unconventional places, the key to original accommodation ideas. Find out how you can sleep in a natty 2 CV right in the middle of the Saint-Ouen fleamarket on the outskirts of Paris, or in a lighthouse in Croatia. Eleven lighthouses on the Adriatic have now been renovated and turned into tourist accommodation for people who want to get away from the overcrowded beaches and are seeking something a little more intimate.

Following Turkey, this year Russia will be the focus of special interest in France. In the context of France-Russia Year 2010, a whole host of events will showcase the culture and heritage of this Eastern European country. The many artistic collaboration projects are lending a creative theme to this France-Russia year. The Théâtre National de l’Opéra de Paris and the Bolshoi Theatre are joining forces to co-produce a commissioned opera by Philippe Fénelon based on Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard. Russia is also hosting a major tour by the Comédie Française, from Siberia to the Gulf of Finland. In the economic and commercial sphere, France will be the first guest of honour at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in June 2010.

Poland is paying tribute to Frédéric Chopin, the great romantic composer whose father was French. The Fair will host a special Chopin stand, an exhibition In the footsteps of Frédéric Chopin, as well as a series of concerts. Many events are planned both in France and Poland for the bicentenary of his birth, including a Polish section of the Folle Journée de Nantes festival in Warsaw and the Frederic Chopin International Piano Competition (Warsaw and surrounding area). In France, Châteauroux will open the festivities with a huge concert bringing together some sixty pianists of international renown who will perform the virtuoso’s finest compositions. Concerts, publications, radio and television broadcasts, exhibitions (at the Cité de la Musique, and also throughout France) and conferences will mark this great celebration.

Another heritage - another culture: from 11 June to 11 July South Africa will be hosting the 31 countries competing in the final rounds of the Football World Cup. A wide range of holiday packages are available to sports lovers who, with the help of tour operators, will also be able to take in some of the many tourist attractions of this wonderful country.

Socially responsible tourism is really taking off. Reconciling the desire to get away from it all with a humanitarian commitment, “ecologically correct” destinations and HEQ (High Environmental Quality) labelled accommodation are being offered by tour operators. In France or abroad, “wwoofing” – a term inspired by “wwoofer” or Willing Worker on Organic Farms – is an example of a new way to travel. In exchange for working on the land, visitors are provided with accommodation and food with a family, an opportunity available particularly in the south-east and south-west of France.

New discoveries include the opening of the new Beaubourg museum in Metz, or the history trail in the footsteps of Julius Caesar, which includes 11 stopover towns, 27 archaeology and history museums and 19 Gallo-Roman sites, from the Rhone to the Mediterranean, organised by the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region. While in Normandy from June to September Impressionism is celebrated in all its forms, with a long-awaited exhibition: Monet, Pissarro & Gauguin - Impressionist Artists in Rouen.

Annik Bianchini

Website : World Tourism Fair

Last modified on 15/03/2010

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