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Media Release: Air France to Help Promote SA National Parks in France

Date: 2000-10-20

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Air France, the French national carrier which flies daily from Johannesburg to Paris, has undertaken to help the SANP (South African National Parks) promote its parks in France, the fastest growing tourism source market in Europe

To make good on this undertaking, the carrier invited the SANP to attend TOP RESA 2000 in the French resort-city of Deauville from September 21 to 24 as an exhibitor. TOP RESA, which is to the French tourism industry what INDABA is to South African tourism, is an annual fair which attracts thousands of exhibitors from all over the world. 

According to Mr. Pierre Saliba, Air France’s Marketing Manager for Southern Africa, South Africa is increasingly becoming a favourite destination for the French tourist who is looking for a more complete African experience. 

"East Africa used to be the destination of choice for French tourists. However, the balance is now definitely swinging in favour of Southern Africa as many tourists are becoming aware of the variety of the attractions the region has to offer. Air France seeks to play an active role in helping to create awareness of South Africa as a unique destination by facilitating contacts between French tour operators and South African product owners like South African National Parks", Saliba said. 

"Attractions such as the Garden Route and the Kruger Park are well known in France", says Salifou Siddo, the SANP Head of Corporate Communications who represented the Parks at the exhibition in France. "However," Dr Siddo added, "my observation is that, in the mind of many French operators, the only way of visiting the KrugerNational Park, for example, is by staying at one of the private game reserves outside the Park. This limits the marketability of the Kruger to a wider French market. The other national parks are totally unknown. Our approach to getting into the French market should be to make French operators aware that national parks operate restcamps and other tourist facilities that offer comfort and unsurpassed bush experience at very affordable rates. This will allow them to sell national parks as complete destinations to a much wider market". 

For the SANP, TOP RESA 2000 has been an eye opener in terms of the potentiality of the French market. Already, the organisation has been invited to take part in a road show scheduled to take place in June next year in the major French cities. Air France will again sponsor the SANP to take part in this venture.

Dr Salifou Siddo 
Head: Corporate Affairs 
South African National Parks 
Tel: (012) 343 9770; Fax: (012) 343 0153


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