Month: June 2016

French trade workshop success

A move by the French region of Seine-et-Marne near Paris to engage more productively with UK group travel professionals has been hailed a success.

A two-day trade workshop held at the Phoenix Artist Club in Covent Garden in central London on 14 and 15 June gave coach operators, tour wholesalers and group travel organisers the opportunity to spend up to an hour with representatives from the Seine-et-Marne region.

Severine Camblong, media and communications manager with Seine-et-Marne Tourism, who led the initiative, says: “We were really pleased to be able to come to London to meet coach operators, tour wholesalers and group travel organisers. The longer one-to-one meetings gave us all more time to discuss group packages. I would like to thank all the coach tourism professionals who took the time to meet with us, and look forward to welcoming them and their groups to Seine-et-Marne soon.”

Mandy Keating, product development manager with Market Harborough-based Diamond Holidays, was one of the UK group travel professionals to attend. Commenting on the workshop she says: “It was great to have time to talk about an area of France that I’m not very familiar with, and beneficial to have a whole hour of one-to-one to really get to know and understand what Seine-et-Marne has to offer. I’ve come away from the workshop with ideas for new tours and new experiences to add to our existing tours.”

The trade workshop is the latest initiative from Seine-et-Marne to encourage more UK group and tour planners to take a closer look at the region that sits just to the east of Paris.
In May the tourist office re-launched its one-stop-booking service that makes it easier for the UK market to find out more information and book tour packages.

Group-friendly attractions include the three chateaux of Fontainebleau, Vaux le Vicomte and Champs-sur-Marne, the medieval walled town of Provins, and the historic town of Meaux.

Tour planners wanting more information should email Marjorie Sebille at sebille@tourisme77.fr, or go to www.visit.pariswhatelse.fr

The Phoenix Artist Club, located under the Phoenix Theatre in Charing Cross Road in Covent Garden in central London offers tour planners an unusual venue for pre-West End show meals. For more information, go to www.phoenixartistclub.com

Seine et Marne workshop - 14 June 2016
Seine-et-Marne tourism visited London on 14/15 June to meet with UK tour planners. The workshop was held at the Phoenix Artist Club in Charing Cross Road. Mandy Keating (right) from Diamond Holidays, is seen here with Florian Chenet from Meaux Tourism, and Severine Camblong, from Seine-et-Marne Tourism

CPT scores in French minimum wages dispute

UK-based coach operators travelling in France stand to benefit from a major concession to new French rules on minimum wages and conditions thanks to the role played by the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK’s director of policy development, Steven Salmon.

At a high level meeting in Brussels on 9 June, the French Government conceded that “closed door” tours from the UK (and other countries) with non-French customers should be considered as transit operations, and should therefore be exempt from the requirement to match French wages and conditions. This applies whether the tour simply goes from England to France and back, or visits France as part of a longer itinerary including over-night stays.

Steven Salmon says: “The rules originally proposed by the French Government would have placed considerable financial and administrative burdens on CPT coach operator members running tours and short trips to France. The French government representatives accepted that there is no French customer for this work so there is no basis under the Posting of Workers Directive for controls on the pay and conditions of workers carrying it out.

“This issue has been a major cloud hanging over our coach operator members for the last couple of months. This concession will be a huge relief and will enable them to maintain their competitiveness and keep tour prices down for passengers.”

CPT’s chief executive Simon Posner paid tribute to the role Steven Salmon played in securing this major win.
“The key role Steven has played cannot be over emphasised and I know will be warmly welcomed by CPT’s coaching members,” he says. “This success comes close on the heels of France backing down from its unwelcome new interpretation of the EU rules on breaks when two drivers are working together, which was secured by CPT, IRU and other trade bodies working collaboratively to score a major goal for UK coach operators. Once again, the prominent role of CPT in the industry’s relations with the European institutions has paid off, ensuring that our members are able to operate successfully on the Continent.”