For millions of Australians, the month of July means the Tour de France on SBS, watching the cyclists ride “live” through French villages during the European Summer. For the first time since World War II, the pandemic has disturbed this love affair. The 107th edition of the Tour, which was set to begin on 27 June, will now start on 29 August in Nice and finish in Paris on 20 September – the route is unchanged.
Atout France is launching a competition for Australians to win a trip to the Tour de France in 2021 (click here to participate). The race is especially popular with Aussies, who are usually glued to their sets or watching from the sidelines at this time of year. The competition aims to fill the Tour de France void experienced by those disappointed with its postponement, as well as the current travel bans.
The Tour is the world’s biggest annual sporting event, and an average of four million Australian viewers tune in to it on SBS each year. The winner of this competition will receive a trip for two to Paris, including flights and accommodation, and a coveted spot at the final stage of the race on the Champs-Élysées. The prize is a bucket-list item for Tour enthusiasts.
“I am staggered by the tremendous impact of the Tour in Australia, which reflects the Aussie passion for sports and for France,” says Christian Prudhomme, Tour de France Director, in a personalised message to Australia – click the picture below to view the clip.
The future of international travel
Despite COVID-19, Australia’s love affair with travel is still going strong. According to the Lowy Institute, 65% of Australians are as likely or more likely to travel overseas as they were before the pandemic. The same can be said for France’s reputation as the most visited country in the world. In May this year, Paris was the second-highest search on Tripadvisor, before New Zealand, London and Tokyo.
France opened its borders on 1 July and, while the future of international travel is still uncertain for Australians, there’s optimism this will resume in 2021. A million Aussies head to France every year and Atout France believes the competition will help keep this interest alive.
“Atout France is very excited to launch this Tour de France campaign in Australia,” said Patrick Benhamou, Regional Director Australia and New Zealand, Atout France.
“Despite the current circumstances, the interest for this extraordinary sporting event remains very strong and allows Australians to continue to be inspired by France and plan for their next trip when the Australian borders reopen. We look forward to welcoming Australians back to France when possible. French tourism professionals have been working hard for the past few months to allow Australians to rediscover French destinations, and have been implementing strict health and sanitary measures.”