Atout France has joined the Association of Touring and Adventure Suppliers (Atas) as an associate member to promote the country’s diverse range of activity holidays.

The French tourism development agency has an office in London to promote France to the UK and Irish markets.

Vanessa Renaud-Elliott, assistant director – head of business tourism and travel trade at Atout France UK & Ireland, said: “France boasts incredible geographical diversity, offering a vast range of outdoor activities in the mountains and coasts of the mainland as well as across the overseas territories.

“We would like to highlight this diversity to Atas members and showcase it to specialist operators.”

She said the UK market is one of France’s main sources of visitors, so British travel agents are key to raising awareness and communicating offers to clients.

And agents can capitalise on increasing interest in outdoor activities – such as cycling, walking and hiking – as well as exploring nature and environmentally responsible holidays, she commented.

“There is scope for further development in this sector, in alignment with a global trend towards wellness and outdoor pursuits, particularly in relation to sustainability,” said Renaud-Elliott.

“We are increasing our activities promoting the mountains and ‘espaces verts’ – green spaces, namely national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.”

As well as highlighting active holidays in France, the agency promotes trips to French overseas territories such as Reunion Island, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, French Guyana and those in the Caribbean.

Travel agents can learn more about long-haul French destinations with the dedicated Online Travel Training course.

Claire Brighton, Atas account director, said: “It’s great to welcome Atout France as an associate member to Atas. There is a wealth of touring and activity holidays in France and its overseas territories so we’re delighted to help raise awareness of the sector for our agents and suppliers.”

She also highlighted other activity opportunities in France, including:

• A new national cycle route called La Voie Bleue – Moselle-Saône à Vélo, launched in June 2020. The 700-kilometre route stretches from Apach, on France’s border with Luxembourg, to Lyon.

Other cycle routes include La Dolce Via in the Ardèche, and two cheese-themed trails in the department of Cantal.

• Terra Volcana in Auvergne is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site and has 2,000 kilometres of hiking routes. The Mediterranean island of Corsica also offers hiking trails.

• The Monts Jura zip wire at the Col de la Faucille – the steepest of its kind in France – has begun operating.

• Operators offering holidays in France include other Atas members such as Exodus, Explore and G Adventures.