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French told to be more friendly as govt unveils steps to boost tourism

Published on Jun 19, 2014 8:34 PM
People stand and take photographs at the Human Rights Square in front of the Eiffel tower on a warm and sunny day on June 18, 2014 in Paris. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - France unveiled on Thursday plans to boost tourism and said it needed to eradicate its surly reputation as its status as the world's top destination for foreign visitors faces increasingly stiff competition.

Speaking at the close of a national conference on tourism, foreign minister Laurent Fabius said the government had fixed a target of attracting 100 million foreign tourists annually compared to 83 million in 2012.

Accompanying him, commerce minister Fleur Pellerin said France would try and iron out inconveniences faced by tourists, especially in getting visas.

She also said the country needed to "recover a sense of hospitality" as "too often we mistake service with servility" and said authorities should use the Internet better to promote tourism.

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