French officials, Delta Air Lines executives and travel executives gathered to celebrate the charms of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region as Delta restarted nonstop flights to the coastal French city of Nice this week.
Launched May 12, the flights between Atlanta and Nice complement Delta’s extensive reach to Nice from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
“France is a top-five international destination for Americans, who were the first to visit after the country reopened,” said French Consul General Anne-Laure Desjonquères, who assumed her position in September and hosted a celebration at the French residence in Buckhead. “More than 4.7 million came to France before the pandemic in 2019, and we know with these flights that it will be even more.”
The flights will not only encourage the tourism industry but make business between Georgia and the region easier, she said, noting that there are more than 200 French companies currently in the state.
France is the No. 1 destination for international tourism, with the French Riviera being the second most important destination in France after Paris for international travelers.
Rudy Salles, chairman of Nice Côte d’Azur tourist office, noted that the routes were “long overdue,” having last linked the cities of Atlanta and Nice 17 years ago.
“We have invested in our infrastructure, especially with the Olympic games coming in 2024,” Mr. Salles said.
Between 2020 and 2025, the area will add 3,000 new hotel rooms, including four five-star, 14 four-star and two three-star hotels.
The flights are timely, as several high-profile events are set to come to the region, including the 2024 Paris Olympics, the Tour de France, Ironman World Championships and the Rugby World Cup 2023 later this year, for which Nice is one of nine host cities.
On the cultural side, 2023 is also the 60th anniversary of the Matisse Museum and the 50th anniversary of the Marc Chagall Museum, both in Nice.
In addition to these pivotal events, Mr. Salles said a visit to the area offers something for everyone.
“You could breakfast on the beach and go skiing in the afternoon,” he said.
Loic Chovelon, CEO of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur tourism board, added that there are 300 sunny days a year, six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, excellent cycling, natural parks (60 percent of the area is protected), 82 restaurants with Michelin stars, 31 golf courses, 17 seaports, impressive biodiversity, year-round markets and some of the best shopping in the world.