Semi-final of the IFTM TOP RESA Travel Agents Cup
A passion for selling travel experiences!

On Monday 27 May, 33 contestants from across France, all full of excitement and enthusiasm, converged on Marina de Bercy in Paris to compete in the semi-final of the Travel Agents Cup (TAC), the last step en route for the final. It all made for a high-adrenaline selection day for the travel agents, combined with friendly meetings and networking with partners.
All contestants will gather on Thursday 3 October in the IFTM TOP RESA Arena for the final, one of the show’s flagship events. The ten finalists who make it through the semi-final will be presented, and in front of an audience and jury, will take on the challenge of using all their knowledge, energy and imagination to convince them that they are THE best travel agent in France.
Five prizes will be awarded: first, second, and third “Best Travel Agent in France” by the panel of judges, one “Audience Favourite” by public vote, and one “Random Draw” of all participants.

A jury of 11 tourism professionals
The 33 contestants made their presentations to a jury chaired, as always, by Sophie JOVILLARD, host of Échappées Belles on France 5, and patron of the event: Marie ALLANTAZ (Head of ESCAET), Valérie BONED (General Secretary of Entreprises du Voyage), Nicolas COUTZICOS (SNCF Sales Manager), Catherine ETCHECOPAR (Air France Events Manager), Christine GIRAUD (Avis network Sales Manager), Guillaume LINTON (Mayor of the Tour Operator village), Giovanni MACIOCCO (Chief Commercial Officer of Paris Experience Group), Jean-Pierre PINHEIRO (President of ADONET), Marie POIRIER (representative of the French Tourism Journalists Association) and Frédéric LORIN (Director of IFTM TOP RESA).
The assessment criteria were as follows: stage manner (smile, composure, elocution, energy, presence), coverage of the subject (knowledge of and familiarity with the destination, structure of the presentation, illustration using “field” anecdotes, professionalism, originality) and time management (4 minutes max!).

Five scenarios drawn at random
This year, the contestants prepared to present one of five scenarios drawn at random at the event:
• An MSC cruise with old friends: a group of 6 friends around the age of forty wanting to go somewhere without the kids. One has restricted mobility. 7 days / 6 nights in June, €1000 / person, departing from Marseille.
• Well-being retreat in Indonesia: a mother and her 20-year-old daughter want a pampering holiday with an introduction to traditional medicines, yoga and meditation. Their stay should be centred on pleasure, health and well-being. 1 month in September, €4000 / person, departing from Valence.
• Family holiday in Patagonia: a family with two children, 10 and 12, who love winter sports and hiking. The accommodation must be near ski slopes, hiking routes and fun activities for the children, with a high-quality standard of service (catering, services, medical assistance, etc.). 12 days in September, €3000 / person, departing from Paris.
• Southern African safari: a group of 10 recent retirees (5 couples) want to discover the treasures of African wildlife.  They are looking for an authentic experience and comfort, and want a tailor-made offer combining well-being, luxury and exploration. Ideally, the accommodation should blend into the natural landscape for total immersion. 15 days in April, €7000 / person, departing from Nice.
• Fine food and wine in Nouvelle-Aquitaine: a group of friends (5 people around 30), passionate about fine wine and culture, want to explore Bordeaux and its region over a long weekend. Accommodation should have character and be near the sea. They love gastronomy, good wine and long walks. 4 days in June, €750 / person, departing from Strasbourg.

Workshop: enthusiastic partners
Throughout the day, contestants had the opportunity to meet TAC partners to discover their programmes and new products: Air France, Avis, MSC Cruises, Nouvelle Aquitaine, Paris Experience Group, SNCF, Tourisme en Champagne, Tour Operator Village – Française des Circuits, Wonderful Indonesia.

The 33 semi-finalists in 2019
Maeva BIDEL (Leclerc Voyage), Elise BOUCHARD (Joubert Evasion), Julie BOUVIER (Selectour),  Audrey BRUNET (Carrefour Voyages), Claire CHICAN (Bouddha Spirit), Melissa DAUBA (Havas Voyages), Mélanie DOLO (Havas Voyages), Marina ELBAZ (TUI Nouvelles Frontières), Tifenn FORTIN (Havas Voyages), Jean-Charles FRANCHOMME (Kit Voyages), Isabelle GAUDET (Carrefour Voyages), Bérénice GERARD (Thomas Cook), Mélanie GIRARDET (Prêt à Partir), Cindy GOSSELIN (Havas Voyages), Emmanuelle HEITZ (CEDIV), Pamela JAMAULT (Tryvell), Ludivine KERGUEME (Euromer), Estelle KERLIDOU (Carrefour Voyages), Virginie KORTE (Selectour), Lysiane LE MENTEC (Voyages Univairmer), Manon LEGER (Visages du Monde), Arnaud LEVET (Verdie Voyages), Jennifer LI LUN YUK (Leclerc Voyages), Cécilia MONNIER (Carrefour Voyages), Catherine MULOT (Voyages Eureka), Anne-Katiza OUMAR (Thomas Cook), Anne-Laure PAYEN (Invitation au Voyage), Morgane PETTINE (Selectour), Sophie POUSSIN (Leclerc Voyages), Jérémy ROHRER (Havas Voyages), Céline SAMALENS (Carrefour Voyages), Florent SEPANIAC (Carrefour Voyages) and Didier ZAMORA (Travel Me Like).

The day ended with a photo session as an opportunity to “capture smiles”, followed by a fun and friendly cocktail party to close the event, bringing together judges, partners and travel agents.

Quotes from judges
  • Sophie Jovillard, chair of the panel and TAC patron: “While the Travel Agents Cup is a very friendly event, the judges have a weighty responsibility. They have to be very demanding with contestants whose professionalism is increasing year on year, while trying to help them feel at ease. Showing impartiality and respecting everyone’s effort to prepare and present the subjects is vital.”
  • Guillaume Linton, Mayor of the Tour Operator Village: “I’m amazed every year by the level of contestants putting themselves forward for this competition. We are seeing improving skills, with highly researched and scripted presentations. The TAC is an event that benefits the whole profession: an excellent opportunity for travel agents to challenge themselves in a fun and friendly atmosphere.”
  • Frédéric Lorin, Director of IFTM TOP RESA:  “We’re together again for the TAC for the seventh time. This is a great event which can be approached very seriously, without taking yourself too seriously. I can’t wait for the final!”
Quotes from contestants
  • “Preparing for the TAC is a lot of work! Studying the destination, working on the offers, planning pre and post travel connections, writing the script, etc., some subjects required up to 5 hours preparation”;
  • “Our colleagues are our best supporters, they serve as guinea pigs to test our presentations”;
  • “The hardest thing is to keep within the four minutes”;
  • “Some scenarios include traps: for example a 7 day / 6 night cruise is virtually non-existent in the catalogues, so you have to tailor it”;
  • “It is always very intimidating to open the curtain and stand in front of a panel of 11 travel professionals with a sharp eye for every detail”;
  • “Never overlook formalities and vaccinations”.