Marhaba France Expo Special Edition returned to Dubai last month, featuring a delegation of 60-plus exhibitors from across France, with the two-day event taking place at the Expo 2020’s Pavilion France and the Raffles Hotel Dubai.

The event hosted travel professionals from across the Middle East. The event took place in the last month of Expo 2020 Dubai, which saw a total of 2.2 million visitors at the France Pavilion.

“The attendees interacted with French tourism boards, unmissable French tourist attractions, high-end shopping facilities, hotels, palaces, DMCs, transportation companies and amusement parks,” says Karim Mekachera, Regional Director, Middle East & Turkey, Atout France.

“Marhaba France has grown year on year with more French tourism operators joining on the back of thousands of contracts signed each year. This year included for the first time, the Israeli and the Indian markets along with the Gulf and the Levant. A total of 61 suppliers and 125 travel operators scheduled more than 2,500 meetings over two days.”

Cote D’Azur Regional Tourism

The region is putting an effort into upgrading and adding more four- and five-star hotels. This includes the one-billion-euro renovation of the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes, and a new Anantara hotel in Nice, specially targeting the Middle East Market. In addition, at the point of the Crossette in Cannes is The Palm Beach, which is to undergo a major transformation with more than 23,000 m2 shopping mall, conference and event hall, restaurants, swimming pool and beach. There is also a new underwater museum. Located just three metres under the water, you can swim down and visit this unique attraction. Cote D’Azur is also making the region more sustainable by building bike routes to add to the already excellent tram links.


Paris’s leisure marketing is back with a focus on being a safe destination. Already famous with the Middle Eastern traveller, Paris is working on gaining more of the Middle East expatriates and therefore focusing on culture, gastronomy and shopping to put attractive itineraries together. Paris will welcome Rugby World Cup in 2023 and the summer Olympics games in 2024.

Eifel Tower is also seeing their leisure travel back, including from the Middle East. The famous Le Jules Verne restaurant on the 2nd floor is back to being fully booked three months in advance. Taking the last couple of years to upgrade and add new concepts, in December 2021, Maison Pierre

Herme Paris designed two exclusive macaroons for the Eiffel Tower. In Spring of 2022, a Parisian brasserie headed by a Micheline star chef will open on the first floor. In the autumn of this year, Eifel Tower will launch a new Private VIP visit where visitors can skip all the queues, have access to the backstage of the tower and may include the restaurant as part of this package. The shop is also being upgraded and will be stocked with high quality products made in France. Also on the first floor, a lounge with a capacity of 120 to 200 pax where MICE events like seminars and dinners can be organised.

Auvergne Rhone-Alps Tourism

This region, located in the middle of France between Paris and Nice where you will find Lyon, Mont Blanc, Annsey, (where you will find a lake referred to as the Venice of the Alps) and in the west Auvergne (site of an inactive Volcano with more than 23 thermal spas). A new route starting from Burgundy in Dijon and ends Marseille in the south covering over 600 kilometres is being launched called Gastronomy Valley.

On this trip one can taste local products and meet local producers, stay in local traditional hotels as well as a unique experience of visiting a cave and taste local grape in the dark, heightening the senses. There are more than 200 different packages, enabling local French tour operators to put a package together.

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