• France edition
 
Paris launches manual on how to treat tourists
"Do you know where is the Eiffel Tower?" A new campaign hopes to teach tourism professionals in Pairs how to understand their international clients. Photo: CCI/CRT

Paris launches manual on how to treat tourists

Published: 19 Jun 2013 11:16 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 Jun 2013 11:16 GMT+02:00

Rude guides, miserable waiters, unhelpful shop staff - these are just a few of the complaints visitors to Paris often make about the city. And it seems tourism chiefs have finally got the message.

In future visitors may find themselves more welcome, more at home, and better understood in the French capital thanks to a new manual that will be handed out to those who work in the tourism industry or who come into regular contact with visitors.

The “Do you speak touriste?” campaign, run jointly by the Paris Chamber of Commerce (CCI) and the regional tourism committee (CRT), was launched on Tuesday.

It consists of a manual, which is being sent out to 30,000 tourism industry professionals, as well as a website, www.doyouspeaktouriste.fr

“The aim of this campaign is to focus on the quality of welcome that visitors receive in Paris, and to train professionals here to understand the differences between them,” François Naverro from the CRT, told The Local on Wednesday.

While Naverro claimed that “although 30 million tourists come here every year, and 96 percent of them say they are satisfied, our goal is to improve their experience even more.”

Part of that, he says, is teaching restaurant-owners, museum staff, and shopkeepers to understand the important cultural differences between various nationalities.

“For example, we know that 32 percent of British tourists, who are our first and most important international clients, come here in couples.

“They stay on average for three and a half nights, and they spend an average of €145 each day. They love architecture, they especially want to have fun, breakfast for them is usually between 7.30 and 8.30 am, and lunch is from 12 to 1pm,” he says.

“This can be very strange for local restaurant-owners, because we French like to start lunch at 1pm, and take our time with it,” he added.

The campaign website, which refers to ‘the English’, rather than ‘the British,’ mentions that they expect; “Smiling, friendly staff, a warm welcome, and a playful dimension to cultural attractions.”

The Americans, by contrast, expect “to be taken care of quickly, and a mastery of English,” among other needs.

For his part, Naverro said that visitors from the US are more demanding than their British counterparts, and expect a kind of “full service.”

“This is because, on average, they are wealthier, spend more for their trip, and stay for 6.7 nights in Paris.”

“London, on the other hand, is more like a suburb of Paris.”

“American tourists can be frustrated sometimes by cultural and technological differences. For example, they expect their hotel to have widespread Wi-Fi, and they usually have dinner at 6pm, which is very early for France,” he added.

The new initiative comes at a delicate time for Paris’s image as a tourist-friendly city.

In May, The Local reported how local tourism officials were forced to play down the significance of a riot near the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysées, during which a bus full of tourists was attacked by a group of looting football fans.

In March, French Tourism Minister Sylvia Pinel pledged to ensure the security of travellers, after 23 Chinese visitors were robbed of their cash and passports shortly after arriving in the capital.

In April, the world-famous Louvre art gallery in Paris was forced to shut down for a day when employees staged a walk-out in protest against pickpockets at the museum, who were "becoming more numerous and more aggressive".

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Tour de France stage 19: Lithuanian makes history
A Lithuanian rider, for the first time ever, won a stage of the Tour de France. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP

Tour de France stage 19: Lithuanian makes history

Stage 19: For the first time in Tour de France history a Lithuanian rider on Friday won a stage of the legendary bike race. Numerous crashes and a disjointed peloton contributed to an unusual day on the course. READ  

'France has world's best healthcare for expats'
Photo: Couple.

'France has world's best healthcare for expats'

France's reputation for having an excellent healthcare system got a boost recently from a study that said it is the best one in the world for retired expats. However, another report noted there's a dark side to France's services. READ  

Violent storms to drench south-western France
Nasty storms are expected to hit south-western France on Friday. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Violent storms to drench south-western France

Nineteen departments in south-western France were under an orange alert on Friday--the second highest warning level--due to a set of nasty storms carrying heavy rain, hail and packing high winds. READ  

Flight AH5017 tragedy
No survivors in Mali crash, 54 French killed
There were no survivors of the Air Algérie flight that crashed in Africa. Photo: AFP/ECPAD

No survivors in Mali crash, 54 French killed

AS IT HAPPENED: France's president says there were no survivors of the Air Algerie crash in Africa, at the same time French authorities are ruling out the possibility the jet was shot down, saying bad weather is thus far the apparent cause. READ  

Paris police ban pro-Palestinian demo
Paris has banned a pro-Palestinian march set for Saturday. Photo: Francois Guillot/AFP

Paris police ban pro-Palestinian demo

After a string of pro-Palestinian marches turned violent in the past week, Paris's police authority has banned a march set for Saturday that is in protest of Israel's air and ground incursion into Gaza. READ  

Anti-gay mayor performs gay son's wedding
An anti-gay French mayor said 'never say never' after performing the wedding of his gay son. Photo: Hands.

Anti-gay mayor performs gay son's wedding

A French mayor known for his hardcore opposition to the country’s highly controversial decision last year to allow gay marriage, has found a same-sex union he can allow. He recently performed the wedding of his own son, who is gay. READ  

Ten bizarre facts about French Parliament
Here's ten interesting and funny things you didn't now aboute France's National Assembly. Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP

Ten bizarre facts about French Parliament

As Friday is the official start of summer holiday for members of French parliament, The Local has decided to have a little fun with them and has brought you 10 bizarre facts about its National Assembly. They're good for a laugh, but you also might learn something. READ  

Top Parisian tourist spots could open 7/7
Some of Paris's top tourist spots may stay open seven days a week. Photo: Ironypoisoning/Flickr

Top Parisian tourist spots could open 7/7

Three of Paris’s main tourist attractions, the Louvre museum, the Musée d’Orsay and the Palace of Versailles, may soon stay open seven days a week in a bid to accommodate more visitors amid dwindling subsidies. READ  

Plane with 51 French on board 'crashes in Mali'
The latest map released by officials in Burkina Faso, showing the presumed site where the plane is believed to have come down. Photo: Airport of Ougadougou

Plane with 51 French on board 'crashes in Mali'

An Air Algérie-operated flight carrying 116 people on board, including 51 French nationals, is believed to have crashed in Mali on Thursday. There have been unconfirmed reports that the wreckage of the plane has been found. READ  

French cops find arsenal on London-bound bus
French border police find an arsenal of weapons on board a Eurolines bus. Photo: Sludge Gulper/FLickr

French cops find arsenal on London-bound bus

French border police seized a small arsenal of firearms and ammunition they found stowed aboard a bus that was passing through France on its way to London, French media reported on Thursday. Officers are still looking for the owner of the weapons. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Why you should think twice about feeding stray cats in France
National
And the new redrawn map of France will look like...?
Politics
Is French President François Hollande about to tie the knot?
International
Want a long-term visa? You may soon have to take a French test
International
Votes for foreigners: 'France would be giving up its sovereignty'
National
VIDEO: Stuntman jumps onto a moving Paris metro... and survives
Gallery
Forget 'faire l'amour', here's 15 top French expressions for making love
National
Report - 'Anti-Semitic' riots in France: 'We may leave for Israel'
National
Paris Plages: Here's 10 reasons to head down to the city beach
International
'Mont Blanc is like Disneyland. It's time to end the free-for-all'
Travel
Fancy climbing Mont Blanc? Here's 10 reasons to think twice about it
Gallery
Looking for a weird museum in Paris? Here's 10 that are worth a visit
National
Clear your head: Eight tips for buying wine in a French supermarket
National
'Don't blame the labour market for France's unemployment woes!'
National
Job applicants in France: Be prepared to send in an anonymous CV
Sport
'Bouligans' to booze bans: Ten things you need to know about pétanque
Gallery
Driving in France: How to stay out of trouble on the roads
Travel
Ten essential free phone apps for a visit to Paris
Gallery
Like cycling? Love France? See the top ten best cycling routes in France
International
'They think beer is a vegetable': What the French really think of Germans
National
Sarkozy's dream of a 2017 comeback is not dead yet
Gallery
Ten reasons why France is better than Germany (we're not talking football)
Gallery
Paris in Summer: Ten things to do on a shoestring
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se