The Top Résa Show opens its doors this morning in Paris. A veritable temple dedicated to the tourism industry and intended for professionals in the sector, the show is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. More than 160 countries and 60 tour operators will be represented. Ile de la Réunion Tourisme (IRT) is once again in the game and intends to defend the destination Réunion. Especially since the year 2013 is part of a difficult context, with a forecast of 5% drop in attendance in Réunion compared to 2012 (around 440,000 visitors, note), due to the “strong” impact of the shark crisis. “Our sales representatives are witnesses to this recurring problem in the field”, underlines the Director General of the IRT, Pascal Viroleau, who now expects “strong signs and concrete actions” for the safety of users, he insisted on specifying at the start of the show.
The IRT’s objective is to support decisions made by local authorities in terms of securing bathing sites. “The Region has confirmed the creation of bathing basins, several basins in the West and South of the island. With this device, we will remove the pressure on the lagoon which is becoming untenable, but it will also allow us to communicate in a way more secure “, he specifies.
“We must not forget the riches of Réunion and resume the pace of growth as in recent years. The objective of 600,000 visitors is still valid.”, continues Pascal Viroleau. The IRT intends in particular to continue its work on air services and visas. The relationships forged with several tour operators and European companies, operating in Mauritius in particular, continue and should soon lead to “results”. “We must continue to work on our source markets (Europe editor’s note), while not forgetting the Gulf companies (…). The strategy remains the opening of the market”, emphasizes Pascal Viroleau. There remains the issue of visas. While South Africa and France have agreed to ease entry into Reunion Island, leading to a 50% increase in tourist attendance, work continues with the main emitting countries such as China, India or Russia. “For that we have received the support of the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) which will support us”, he specifies.
This year, at the Top Resa show, the IRT will sell Réunion under the brand “emotion”. “You can’t say that Réunion is blue or green. Réunion is an island of diversity where beyond the landscape, it is its people, its cuisine, its nature that sets it apart from other islands. Reunion is emotion “, loose Pascal Viroleau.
Pascal Viroleau who will bid farewell to the IRT very soon, since he will be taking over the presidency of the Vanilla Islands from January 1, 2014. The Top Resa show will close its doors next Friday.