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Cote d'Azur luring more South Africans

Mar 03 2016 16:19
Carin Smith

Cape Town - South African tourists should not let the weaker rand discourage them from visiting the French Riviera, according to Héloise Deparisse, director of sales at the AC Hotel Ambassadeur in Antibes - Juan-les-Pins.
 
On a recent roadshow in Cape Town, she told Fin24 that the French Riviera is the second most visited tourist region in France after Paris.

The popularity of the region with foreign tourists started when Queen Victoria used it as her holiday destination during the winter months. It was made even more popular thanks to fans like American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, who had a house in Antibes.

This led to many tourists from the US and UK coming to the region. The popular carnival in Nice in February is another big attraction for tourists.

According to Deparisse, the main attractions of the Cote d'Azur are the Mediterranean cuisine and the weather.

"Visitors come to 'chillax'," she explained.

She said there is an increase of South African visiting in the region.

"We have a lot of yachting activities in Antibes due to the harbour. A lot of the crew members on these yachts are from South Africa, for instance" she added.

Seasonality is still a challenge in the region, with the quieter months being from November to the end of February. This causes many in the local hospitality industry to try and lure tourists by means of special offers and by promoting activities available outside of the (European) summer season.

The Cote d'Azur is just two hours' drive from the Alps, for instance and visitors can take day trips there to ski. There are also various cultural activities and museums of interest.

"The Cote d'Azur is great for families," said Deparisse. "The ocean is shallow and calm."

She said, although it might be pricey for South Africans in rand terms, there are certainly some good deals to be found between May and June and between September and October, when the weather is also still good.

According to Roxane Guerin of CI Experience, specialising in luxury tailor made journeys, South African tourists often go to Paris, but do not explore the wider attractions France offers in regions like Champagne, Normandy and Provence and, of course, the French Riviera.

She noted a general tourism trend among international tourists to want to discover the French culture in a unique way, often using private excursions.

"It seems so-called 'ultra personalisation' is becoming more popular," Guerin told Fin24 at the French roadshow. "They usually stay between seven and ten days - but visits can even be from three days to three weeks."

france  |  hotels  |  travel and leissure
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