The purpose of destination agreements is to create destinations that go beyond administrative perimeters in order to bring together all public and private French people working in the tourism industry around a same region-specific brand and to provide a better structured industry that is more visible internationally.
The agency, Atout France, promotes the destinations and monitors the agreements, in liaison with DIRRECTE (Regional Directorates for Companies, Competition, Consumption, Work and Employment).
22 destination agreements have been made across metropolitan and overseas France: 11 initial agreements were signed on 16 December 2014, followed by another 9 signed in June 2015. The two most recent agreements “Côte d’Azur, Land of Events” and “Mont Blanc, the ‘Roof’ of Europe” were signed at the Foreign Ministry in 2016 at an annual tourism conference:
- Explore the Alps
- Auvergne – Destination Nature
- Mont St Michel and Its Bay
- Biarritz – Destination Golf
- Val de Loire
- Impressionism (Normandy and Ile de France)
- “Around the Louvre Lens”
- "Paris: An Extended City"
- The Dordogne Valley
- The Pyrenees
- The French Guiana Region
- Mont Blanc
- Côte d’Azur
This agreement aims to promote wine tourism. This destination was chosen because it points to the excellence of typically French know how. The Champagne Region’s bid to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site is in the last stages of approval.
Provence traditionally brings to mind olive trees, lavender and cicadas. Under its “arts of living” banner flourish the extraordinary resources of its natural landscapes, its museums, its painters’ trail, its rich and tasteful local culture and lastly its cultural vivacity stemming from its popular festivals such as those in Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Orange.
“Around the Louvre Lens”
This agreement aims to promote the Nord-Pas-de-Calais Region – and those surrounding it – as a cultural tourism destination with at its forefront the powerful image of the Louvre Museum and the coal-mining basin of northern France, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Institutional partners have joined forces with designers, artists, economists and investors in this endeavour. They have innovative resources at their disposal to change the image people have traditionally had of this region.
Paris: An Extended City”
Although Paris is one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, its image as a timeless museum city could do with an update. The aim of this agreement is to promote Paris and its surrounding areas focusing on the discovery of new and unusual places whether it be in terms of accommodation, cultural and leisure activities, or nightlife. This original spin on Paris is expected to attract more young European visitors.
This region is already well known internationally but Brittany can be even better presented and promoted abroad. Sustainable tourism is taking off: the agreement’s main aim is therefore to attract more tourists to Brittany who are interested in discovering its beautiful nature.
The Dordogne Valley
The Dordogne Valley has many amazing features: nature, mediaeval architecture, and high-quality products including truffles, foie gras and wine. The art of living in this region should be further promoted abroad to attract more visitors who will also be conscious of the efforts being made to conserve its environment: the Dordogne river basin was named a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 2012.
The Pyrenees agreement
This agreement aims to enhance the international renown of the Pyrenees mountains by showcasing all four seasons and not just winter. Three themes have been chosen: snow—the Pyrenees are the second leading French winter sports destination; outdoor activities in nature; and wellbeing, with thermal tourism and French cuisine. This agreement supplements the three other “mountain” destinations chosen during the first call for projects: the Vosges mountains, the Jura mountains, and the Alps.
This agreement focuses on Corsican identity: its landscapes, culture, and traditions. The aim is to develop seasonal tourism into year-round tourism and to attract tourists from a wider range of countries, especially from outside Europe.
The French Guiana Region
The nature in French Guiana—its coasts, rivers and the Amazon forest—is one of a kind. It is home to the biggest national park in France and even in the European Union. With its space centre, Guiana is more than just an ecotourism destination. This agreement is intended to promote its potential abroad, where it lacks recognition.
The “Côte d’Azur: Land of Events” destination agreement
It aims to provide high quality corporate services for hosting major sports, cultural and business events and more effective promotional activities to motivate people to spend time before and after such events in France.
“The Mont Blanc ‘Roof’ of Europe and Summit of Tourism in France” destination agreement
The goal is to attract other tourists besides European ones (who already have an extensive range of tourism options to choose from) and to promote year-round tourism. The main targets are China, South Korea and India followed by the United States, Canada, Japan and Taiwan, with the aim of doubling the number of visitors from these countries in five years.
Updated: January 2018