The essentials As expected, the contract between the city of Blagnac and the organizer of the Chinese Lantern Festival, which until then had been in Gaillac, was signed on Monday at 12 noon. Several hundred thousand visitors are expected in the Ritouret Park in December 2021 and January 2022. Explanations.
Joseph Carles recognizes it with a sense of humor. The Mayor of Blagnac “doesn’t understand anything because it is written in Chinese” on one of the two copies of the contract that now binds his city to Mag Conseil, the organizer of the famous Chinese Lantern Festival that has been organized for three years in Gaillac. The agreement that we have been talking about since mid-December was signed this Monday at 12 noon (see our Saturday editions). However, he is “convinced that he has made the right choice”. The negotiations were “long, precise and rigorous”, especially during a video conference lasting several hours with Mag conseil, but also with the Chinese consortium, which brings together 150 companies and organizes 35 equivalent events around the world, for example in Toronto, Dallas or Singapore.
An ambitious bet
“The contract is for one year and can be renewed twice, but I’m thinking about three years. We’re making an ambitious bet on a return to normal life by December. Our goal is to revive the city’s dynamic, our 120th Restaurants and help. ” Our hoteliers, who offer 3,750 rooms and suffer from it especially on weekends. In addition to leisure tourism and cultural events, we can bring companies from Toulouse and China into contact with one another, “said Joseph.” The festival represents 1.3 million euros in investments on the French and Chinese sides. However, the direct impact on the local economy is estimated at 11 million euros. Not to mention the advantages: In Gaillac we earned 900,000 euros in the first year, almost two million in the last, ”adds Patrice Gausserand, Chairman of Mag Conseil. The breakeven point is 300,000 admissions in the two months of the festival in December 2021 and January 2022. “From 2019-2020 there were 450,000 visitors in Gaillac. And each edition drew 100,000 more people. The previous edition insists on Patrice.” Gausserand.
The city’s attraction agency and the Toulouse tourist office are closely linked to the project. “Toulouse is twinned with Chongqing, one of the capitals of Sichuan, the traditional lantern region. It is a strong commitment to international openness with a very important economic component. Chinese tourists are very fond of scientific culture and we can offer you combined visits to the festival with the Cité de l’Espace, the museum, Aeroscopia, the flight of the pioneers. We have already started, “confirms Jean-Claude Dardelet, President of the Attractiveness Agency.
Joseph Carles has been signing the bridgehead for 3 years. But he is already “not against” a short move to Toulouse: “The most important thing is to stay in a metropolitan approach and keep the festival in the metropolitan area. If in 3 years we can bring the new Ile du Ramier to market. ” Park in Toulouse, don’t worry “.
Patrice Gausserand rubs his hands together: “We have no doubts about our success. The Blagnac location offers us twice as much as Gaillac. We have hardly spoken about the fact that tour operators from Carpentras, Avignon or the Lot are already offering trips for mid-December. At first bookings “. The contract is signed, it’s not about turning your thumbs. A steering committee of the City of Blagnac has to regulate many details: exclusive access by tram or shuttles, passes for thousands of residents, overcrowding with cultural (Odyssud complex) or sports facilities in the Park du Ritouret, the safety of the site, the impact on the environment … To reassure the skeptics. Even if many Blagnacais already have lights in their eyes.