From the Telegraph
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius unveils drive to end "paradox" of France being world's top tourist destination but among the least welcoming
With the attractions of Paris, the Alpine ski resorts, Riviera beaches and excellent cuisine, France has been the most visited country since the 1980s, welcoming 84 million tourists last year.
But the country has also been wrestling for some time with its reputation as one of the rudest places on earth for tourists.Now the French are being urged to be "more welcoming", as France prepares to launch a multimillion-euro tourist investment fund aiming to boost tourist numbers to 100 million by 2020.
There isn't a paradox. Tourism is almost entirely about seeing things, and mostly things provided by the state. The people that are providing things around those locations are mostly rent-seekers. A cafe on the Champs-Elysee or outside Windsor Castle can provide expensive so-so coffee with a frown because you're not going there because it's a great cafe with a reputation, but because you just want a drink and it's the first place. And as a tourist, you won't be a regular.
France is a lovely, welcoming country. I've stayed in friendly little hotels where they gave us a luxury room for the normal price because it was available, restaurants where they offered me a free glass of a local spirit to try. If you're in Cognac, a distillery tour is friendly and professional. The Champagne houses also do a good tour. I've eaten cheaply and had excellent service in Paris because I choose to eat in areas like the Sorbonne, Les Halles or the outer arrondisements, where you're sitting in tables next to Parisians... in places that have to be good because they aren't relying much on location and tourists. And my cafe tip is to turn off the Champs-Elysee and find a backstreet cafe full of locals where you'll pay quite a lot less.
(the exception to the state providing tourism is places like Disneyland, and in those cases, no-one is complaining about the service)
Saturday, 13 June 2015
From the Telegraph