FRENCH tourism stakeholders are rolling out initiatives for the Chinese market given the three-fold increase in arrivals since 2010.
In 2013, France welcomed over 200,000 Chinese tourists or two per cent of total arrivals.
Patricia Barthelemy, leisure marketing manager for Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, noted: “If we look at data from the region Ile de France where Paris is located, Chinese travellers are the number one among Asians.” Shopping in Paris remains a prime attraction for the Chinese.
Beyond Paris, the Chinese are now exploring destinations such as the Bordeaux wine region, the Rhone-Alpes, Nice and Cannes, according to Atout France.
Jose Henrique Goncalves, general manager of Paris-based Abako Productions, said: “The younger generation of Chinese visitors is demanding more experiential travel. The French tourism industry is responding to these changes and adapting constantly to meet the specific needs of this growing market. We are designing innovative programmes that incorporate gastronomy, art and culture.”
Tour operator ParisCityVision has also begun to provide its Chinese clients with translation services and Chinese guides.
Meanwhile, ICC Paris and Comité Régional du Tourisme Paris Ile-de-France launched the Do You Speak Tourist initiative in 2013 that enrols staff in courses covering languages such as German, Mandarin, Spanish, Italian and Japanese, etc. It also includes a map and dedicated website educating industry members on how to better receive foreign visitors.