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Southampton Airport heads to France to attract inbound tourists to the south coast.

Southampton Airport’s Director of Marketing & Communications, Jan Halliday, has travelled to a major industry conference in France to meet with French airports and airlines with the aim of growing inbound tourism to the south coast. Discussions were held with over 30 airlines and airports over the three day ‘French Connect’ event, which seeks to grow partnerships between airports, and develop new routes.

Southampton Airport is already the UK’s number one gateway to France with 14 routes across the country, including; Avignon, Bergerac, Bordeaux, Brest, Chambery, La Rochelle, Limoges, Nice, Paris Orly, Perpignan and Rennes.  This summer Flybe is also starting three new services to Beziers, Clermont-Ferrand and Pau in regional France from 27th May.

Being the top UK gateway to France, means Southampton Airport is seen as a hub airport for people wanting to access the south coast for both business and leisure travel.  Key areas visited by incoming passengers include; Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, and London.  The top reasons for travel to our region include; business meetings in the south, attending language schools, ex-pats returning to visit friends and relatives, The Southampton Boat Show, Cowes Week, the New Forest National Park, Stonehenge (World Heritage Site), Portsmouth historical dockyard, Wimbledon, Ascot and Goodwood.  Looking forward, there is also significant interest in using Southampton Airport for easy access to the 2012 Olympics in London and Weymouth. 

Jan said: “I met with European airlines and airports to promote the fantastic things that our region has to offer, as well as the easy access to London which takes just 66 minutes by train from Southampton Airport.  This is especially useful to people flying from French regional airports such as from Clermont-Ferrand, Brest and Rennes, where Southampton Airport is their main link to London and the south-coast.  A number of airlines and airports are particularly interested in establishing new air links to grow the Southampton hub even further going forward.”