It takes on colors but is no longer quite the same. Business tourism is slowly recovering from the shock of 2020 by adapting its offer to new business priorities.
Environment, team cohesion, need for recognition, telecommuting… the challenges of companies reflect on their expectations in terms of business tourism. Top-of-the-range, human-sized destinations are popular. A godsend for Aix-en-Provence, whose relaxed lifestyle and infrastructure had already ranked among the favorite destinations in the PACA region. Meeting with Jean-Philippe Alfonsi, head of promotion & marketing at the Aix-en-Provence Tourist Office.
Aix, a trendy business destination?
With its 145,000 inhabitants, Aix is a city rich in heritage with a city center of great architectural unity between the 17th and 18th districts and the county town. Its terraces, its shaded streets, its fountains give it a positive, intimate and secure atmosphere. We like to walk there and enjoy this sweetness of life. Aix is a bit like an open-air museum, but a lively and welcoming museum.
Aix and the Pays d’Aix also form a dynamic center of 394,000 inhabitants with economic vitality stemming from various sectors. Nuclear and the development of new energies with the CEA of Cadarache, Aeronautics with AIRBUS HELICOPTERS, Digital with the French Tech label and Tech Champions such as Voyage Privé, Allo Pneus, Digital Virgo or HighCo…, Agrifood with in particular the use of Mediterranean products with internationally recognized nutritional qualities, Logistics and Transport which provide the economic fabric with all the necessary services, Cosmetics/Health with NAOS and of course Les Thermes Sextius in Aix-en- Provence, all these activities weave a rich and varied economic landscape.
The proximity of Marseille-Provence airport and Aix TGV station (2h55 from Paris) make it easily and quickly accessible. A shuttle service permanently serves the city center where hotels, restaurants, shopping streets and the congress center are concentrated. Aix is a city best enjoyed on foot!
2020 has reshuffled the business tourism cards. Expectations have evolved and companies have accelerated their ecological transition. The period is no longer for trips to the other side of the world. “Cocooning” destinations, accessible by train, with all services within walking distance, such as Aix, are preferred over shorter periods, on average two to three days, but with a higher level of service. Companies are doing less, but better. Aix corresponds perfectly to this need for quality events, warm, top-of-the-range, easy in their logistical organization.
What types of events does Aix host?
Aix is a destination for events on a human scale, perfectly suited to hosting conferences and corporate events for 200 to 500 people. This gauge corresponds as much to the reception capacity of the Convention Center as to other establishments equipped with meeting rooms such as the many hotels or the bastides and wine estates of the Pays d’Aix.
These are therefore mainly events organized by French and European companies, company conventions or seminars.
The Congress Centre, located in the city centre, has all the equipment necessary for the organization of quality events, with in particular modular spaces and state-of-the-art multimedia equipment used for “phygital” congresses which combine congress of teams from all over the world.
The hotel offer is very rich with a palace in the Pays d’Aix, 7 5-star establishments, 14 4-star hotels and a large 3-star offer. Thus, the “Destination MICE Aix-en-Provence” (MICE = Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) offers no less than 3,200 rooms in the categories most popular with business customers.
International events are also organized such as the Economic Meetings of Aix en Provence which bring together each year, at the beginning of July, more than 5,000 participants and hundreds of thousands remotely with speakers from all over the world (business leaders, economists, academics, personalities policies, …) as well as the famous International Festival of Lyric Art or the Easter festival.
In October 2022, the Destination Vignobles exhibition will be held there, organized by Atout France, the PACA Regional Tourism Committee and the Aix Tourist Office. 500 participants including 170 specialized tour operators from all over the world will come to discover the French wine tourism offer presented by 130 destinations. A great event to come that illustrates the influence of the city internationally.
Aix, capital of “bleisure”?
The teams of the Tourist Office respond to all requests and know how to manage the search for a suitable place for a corporate event, the accommodation part of a congress or seminar as well as transport and meals. They also have a catalog of events and “team building” activities targeted at business customers. Whether it’s organizing a game of boules with an aperitif, a treasure hunt, a Segway ride or a gala dinner, its teams are responsive and available.
This professional and tailor-made service is increasingly requested by companies who want to offer their employees who come to seminars a working time but also a time of relaxation and cohesion. The “bleisure” trend which mixes “business” and “leisure”, work and suitcase, is booming and Aix is an ideal destination for this. Whether by welcoming families, relaxing activities or extending their stay, companies are increasingly playing this card, anxious to retain a millennial generation sensitive to marks of recognition and to recreate the links between their employees.
Some numbers :
– 53,000 active establishments in the employment area
– 18,900 digital jobs
– 5 strategic sectors of excellence (Microelectronics, e-commerce, e-tourism and digital, environment and greentechs, renewable energies and aeronautics)
– 1st European campus dedicated to the exploitation of the future: The camp
– 350 establishments dedicated to digital
– 262 foreign companies (2018): France or Europe headquarters, regional management: USA: 63 / Germany: 48 / United Kingdom: 22 / Japan: 20
– Tourism :
- 3,752,000 overnight stays
- Occupancy rate: 71%
- Number of hotel rooms: 3,562
- Number of admissions to the 12 main sites and museums (Caumont Center d’Art, Musée Granet, Atelier Cézanne, etc.): 922,946
This content was produced in partnership with SCP. The editorial staff of BFM Business did not participate in the production of this content.