France aims for 5 million Chinese visitors per year
Over the last 12 months, the eurozone's second main powerhouse, saw more than 2 million tourists from China, where tourism business' progress remains strong.
France, world's top tourism destination, was looking to double the number of Chinese holidaymakers to five million yearly, pledging more improved services to satisfy needs of the booming Asian market.
"Our objective is to welcome five million per year in the coming years. Our cultural and natural heritage, our gastronomy and our lifestyle are assets that meet the expectations of Chinese tourists," junior minister for tourism and foreign trade Matthias Fekl told Xinhua in an written interview on Wednesday.
Taking into account the cruises from French coasts to discover the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, France records "several million Chinese tourists who come for few days," he added.
Over the last 12 months, the eurozone's second main powerhouse, saw more than 2 million tourists from China, where tourism business' progress remains strong, according to Fekl.
The French official noted that French government was working to enhance accommodation services, to further highlight the country's trumps to encourage more Chinese to visit Paris, the most visited city in the world.
Chinese tourists flock to Pont des Arts "lovers bridge" over the Seine, Paris
"Chinese tourists come to France to enjoy some of our products and our brands, that is why we improve the tax exemptions procedures, payment terms and we change schedules and the opening days of our stores to facilitate purchases," he added.
According to official data, outside Europe, China is France's second biggest tourist market in 2013 after the United States, with 1.7 million visitors and 600 million euros (656.5 million U.S. dollars) of revenue.
Asked about the security measures implemented to ensure the visitors' safety from the world's most populous country, Fekl said "some initiatives are being explored to work together," including a boost of communication tools to inform them of the needed information and safety precautions.
Robberies with violence targeting tourist decreased by 26 percent last year from 2014 due to France's efforts to boost security in Paris' main touristic sites, by increasing patrols, improving prevention measures and communication ways to enable foreign visitors to stay in the best possible conditions.
Welcoming 84.1 million tourists in 2014, France confirmed its position as world's most visited country with its landmark monuments, Riviera beaches and gastronomic art, Fekl told Xinhua.
Looking to this year, the government official was upbeat on reporting good performance.
"The duration of stays has increased, which is a good sign. That means that foreign tourists are well received and want to stay longer to discover our cultural and natural resources and live an experience," he said.
With the number of tourists in the world set to double, France hopes to record 100 million international tourist arrivals annually by 2020.
"France's target is to be totally in keeping with this new development, by promoting our offer and the destination of France abroad... to ensure that tourists stay longer so that we gradually become the world's leading player in terms of tourism revenue," the junior minister stressed.
Furthermore, promoting rural tourism was among the government's priorities to further diversify the domestic tourism activities away from the traditional and famous sites.
Tourism in France accounts for seven percent of the national output and employs two million people.
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