Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

The refugees of Manus Island

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Zimbabwe's opposition leader says he hasn't been called upon to be part of the new government

Read more

THE DEBATE

Palestinian Reconciliation: Will Fatah, Hamas agreement succeed?

Read more

FOCUS

Could Pakistan be your next holiday destination?

Read more

THE POLITICAL BRIEF

Defeated presidential candidate Fillon bids farewell to French politics

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Charles Manson: Murderer and cult leader dies after 47 years in prison

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Bricks vs. clicks: Will e-commerce finish off the high street shop?

Read more

ENCORE!

Eastwood & Gainsbourg: Can the children of geniuses step out from their famous shadows?

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

Is France a chain-smoking nation?

Read more

FOCUS

Our Focus programme brings you exclusive reports from around the world. From Monday to Friday at 7.45 am Paris time.

Latest update : 2013-07-10

Paris launches manual on how to treat tourists

Paris, the world's premier tourist destination, is making a concerted bid to shed its reputation for legendary rudeness by issuing a new manual to those who work in the tourism industry and cracking down on the gangs of pickpockets targeting visitors.

Paris, the world’s most visited city, is making a concerted bid to improve its image by issuing a new manual to those who work in the tourism industry and cracking down on the pickpockets targeting visitors.

While Parisian waiters, taxi drivers and sales staff have acquired a reputation for legendary rudeness, a wave of pickpocketing, targeting mostly Asian tourists, has been bad publicity for a city that welcomed 29 million visitors in 2012 – a figure that is expected to grow by 10 million in the coming years.

Organised gangs, often from eastern Europe, have been targeting tourists at Paris’s top destinations in a crime wave of such intensity that workers at the Louvre Museum went on strike in April.

Now the police are cracking down – 200 officers have been specially recruited to protect tourists this summer while a new guide – in several languages – warns visitors about both pickpockets in the metro and gangs of youths who pretend to be deaf and dumb and raising money for apparently reputable organisations.

The extra police officers are now patrolling tourist areas, and there has been a drastic reduction in crime as a result.

Advice for shop owners

Besides protecting visitors from opportunistic crime, Paris also wants to improve the way tourists are welcomed by Parisian shop owners, taxi drivers and waiters.

A misunderstanding of American or Japanese etiquette can often be interpreted as downright rudeness – an image the city authorities are keen to shed.

A small 13-page guide, called “Do You Speak Touriste?” provides information on tourists’ expectations according to their nationalities.

The English, for example, like “Smiling, friendly staff, a warm welcome, and a playful dimension to cultural attractions” while the Americans expect “to be taken care of quickly, and a mastery of English.”

The manual also includes notes on how to say basic phrases like hello, thank you and goodbye in several languages

For one shop-owner, it's a welcome initiative: “You have to be able to adapt to the customers. In the United States people come up to you and say ‘hello, are you ok?’ while Asian visitors prefer staff to be more discreet but they like things to be nicely presented.”

Tourists are also noticing the difference. “I visited Paris about five or six years ago and traders didn't really want to speak English even if they knew how,” one visitor told FRANCE 24.

“This year though, I think there's a difference, people seem much more friendly. And they're smiling.”

 


 

By Christophe DANSETTE , Mark Thompson

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2017-11-23 Asia-pacific

Could Pakistan be your next holiday destination?

With its image tarnished by years of repeated terrorist attacks, Pakistan doesn't figure on many people's lists of dream holiday destinations. But that could soon change....

Read more

2017-11-22 Africa

Tunisians disillusioned, seven years after revolution

In early October, an overcrowded boat carrying migrants sank off the Tunisian island of Kerkennah, near the city of Sfax. At least 45 people lost their lives. Many of the victims...

Read more

2017-11-21 Americas

Video: An uncertain fate for US's transgender soldiers

In July, US President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he was re-instating a ban on transgender people serving in the military. Trump justified his shock decision by citing...

Read more

2017-11-20 Africa

From ecological disaster to small miracle in Mauritania

Mauritania is being invaded by typha, a thick type of plant that has sprung up and is growing all over the North African country, destroying other species and even forcing people...

Read more

2017-11-17 Emmanuel Macron

France's newest political party accused of 'old' methods

Six months after becoming France's youngest ever president, Emmanuel Macron is facing signs of rebellion and frustration from within his own party. Some 100 members, including...

Read more