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Why France wants even more tourists?

Thursday, October 08, 2015 - 01:34

The number of tourists visiting France is expected to break records this year and the government is hoping to cash in with a campaign to boost the sector even further. But as Grace Pascoe reports, it might take more than that to revive the country's struggling economy.

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Around fourteen million people visit the Notre Dame every year. It's the top tourist monument in Paris and France is the top tourist destination in the world . A position Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is keen to maintain - and grow. He's investing 1 billion euros in the sector. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRANCE'S MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, LAURENT FABIUS, SAYING: "My aim is to see 100 million foreign tourists by 2020. Already this year France is set to break its record with more than 80 million." From shopping in Paris to skiing in the Alps - tourism makes up 7.4 percent of France's GDP. But is boosting a sector which is already thriving the answer to France's economic problems? Alastair McCaig is from IG. SOUNDBITE) (English) IG, MARKET ANALYST, ALASTAIR MCCAIG, SAYING: "I think a change to business mentality, a change to their competitiveness on a global scale, should have been something they should have been targeting over the last number of years and arguably with union strength being as strong as ever in France, it has cost them and will continue to cost them in the years to come." Even the tourists see room for improvement. (SOUNDBITE) (English) 24-YEAR-OLD CANADIAN TOURIST FROM ALBERTA, MICHELLE NOH, SAYING: "There is a lot of garbage around and so maybe that's an improvement that Paris can make, just clean the streets a bit more." (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRASILIAN TOURIST FROM RIO, MARIA CECILIA FIGUEIREDO, 33, SAYING: "I miss here internet access. Wifi is a problem." France has competition too. It may be attracting more tourists from the east. But China, India and Latin America are also increasing becoming holiday destinations too.

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Why France wants even more tourists?

Thursday, October 08, 2015 - 01:34