Taking place in January annually in a pre-pandemic world, Grand Ski was an opportune meeting ground for travel agents and French professionals specializing in winter tourism to meet and further develop winter holidays in France. Typically, this 2-day workshop included pre and/or post familiarization tours for visiting agents to experience firsthand the diverse array of the French winter tourism offering available in France’s eclectic collection of ski resorts.
On the eve of Grand Ski’s 30th anniversary, Atout France and its partners introduced an enhanced and holistic version of the French alpine tourism offering with a rebranding of Grand Ski to “Destination Montagnes-Grand Ski”. While services offered by the French massifs for winter tourism still constitute the core of the offer for an international audience, key stakeholders are also keen, especially in the current context, to offer their clients, a 360-degree experience of the mountains. Thus, alongside winter services traditionally promoted at the workshop, a whole range of outdoor activities, events and even new accommodation options available during the summer were also highlighted. This shift also takes into account the growing aspiration of travelers to enjoy authentic experiences responsibly and throughout the 4 seasons in the French alps.
Keeping in mind the current crisis and the closure of borders, this event was transformed into a 100 per cent virtual edition that took place between March 23-26. A total of 150 French suppliers representing different verticals of the alpine tourism offering engaged with 465 international tour operators and travel agents from 59 different source markets which included 15 agents pan India. A total of 9000 online meetings were planned during the four days of this event.
Barbara Breheret, Representative to India, Regional Tourism Board of Auvergne Rhone Alpes, said, “Our most popular French ski resorts have certainly charmed the Indian travel trade as we see a growing number of Indian delegates regularly being part of this showcase. Our meetings this year were a culmination of a shared enthusiasm to work together as soon as possible, many convivial moments of interaction and a very professional contracting set up. The French Alps are not only for skiers, but are also a huge winter and summer playground with over 50 activities available with or without ski-lifts.”
Amit Gilani, Founder, Travel Butler who was part of the Indian virtual delegation said, “This virtual event had the perfect mix of old and new suppliers on a seamless platform. The networking opportunity afforded to us was tremendous and we look forward to more of these perfectly executed virtual roadshows.”
Sheetal Munshaw, Director, Atout France India added, “Over the years, we have proactively tried to develop winter tourism through various initiatives and we are pleased to see that the concept of travelling to France in the winter has found favour with the discerning Indian traveller. Destination Montagnes- Grand Ski is a collective effort of key stakeholders of the French massifs to reinvent the mountains as destinations that can be visited all year around which is perfectly in sync with our strategy to showcase France as a year-round destination to Indian travellers.”