French Foreign Minister Urges Locals To Be More Welcoming to Tourists
While Paris is not a holiday destination to escape the cold this winter, it is one of the most magical cities in the world to spend the holiday season. Not only that, but it’s also the world’s most popular city, despite the fact that it’s often been named one of the most hostile holiday hotspots.
This is largely due to a perceived ‘surly welcome’, or lack thereof, by Parisians in particular, however the reputation seems to hold strong for France in general. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, speaking at the launch of a new plan for tourism, is urging locals to up their game, when it comes to hospitality towards tourists.
“Tourism is a national treasure that needs to be protected, nurtured and developed – that’s the aim of all these measures,” Mr Fabius said. To encourage customer service among locals and improve the lagging reputation, he also stated, “to put it diplomatically, we have room for improvement here. When we come up against a foreign tourist, we are all ambassadors for France.”
The most common complaints, as reported on travel forums across the globe, are aggressive waiters offering little customer service, tourists being ignored if they don’t attempt to speak French and unfriendly welcomes at airports, train stations and hotels. On the flip side, however, many people find France to be a warm and welcoming country and the Parisian penchant for seriousness, utterly charming.
However, in the face of a languishing economy, with high unemployment levels, revamping the tourist industry in France seems especially important. Mr Fabious said, “Tourism is an industry that provides tens and tens of thousands of additional jobs in France.”
The tourism action plan is set to focus on different areas of the industry, including gastronomy, wine, mountaineering, sports and ecotourism, with the aim of attracting 100 million tourists annually.
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