Provence & Côte d'Azur: Tourism Director Claude Maniscalco reports
Chanel, BB and volcanic ash
An action-packed season of fashion, film, Brigitte Bardot and natural disaster kept the town of Saint-Tropez on its toes this summer. As the season comes to an end, Tourism Director Claude Maniscalco, spoke to The Riviera Times about what proved to be an unusual year.
How was the season?
All in all it was really quite successful despite the numerous difficulties that most certainly affected the first six months. I am talking in particular about the bad weather and floods in the spring, and the famous volcanic ash and strikes which then paralysed the airports.
At the end of June and beginning of July the focus was on South Africa for the World Cup and that also affected us here in Saint-Tropez, causing the town to be calmer than usual.
After that it all started to accelerate and in July and August we definitely had many more visitors than we had in 2009. We are now benefiting from an exceptionally mild and sunny autumn. I confidently expect the visitor figure for the whole year to be about five million.
What is the secret?
Few can resist the numerous attractions of Saint-Tropez, although it is also partly thanks to major publicity campaigns that we run in a range of media.
This year we also had a number of unusual events, such as when Karl Lagerfeld arrived for a Chanel celebration and made a film of the event using Saint-Tropez as a natural catwalk. As a result we had a big increase in French tourists.
There were, as usual, the parties of VIPs routinely arriving in their super yachts to attend private parties. Even in a crisis, the international jet set know they can be sure of Saint-Tropez.
We also had more people than usual from Australia, Brazil, Russia and India. The foreign press are doing more articles on Saint-Tropez and more production companies are requesting permission to film here, particularly from Germany, Italy, England, the States, Brazil and Australia.
What are you planning for the winter?
In the winter season we will continue our campaigns with the accent on culture, lifestyle, gastronomy and wellbeing. With this we aim to attract visitors who are looking for the unique lifestyle Saint-Tropez can offer.