France’s reputation for rude service is entirely undeserved, according to new research which reveals the Gallic nation as the most welcoming country in Europe.
It might come as a shock to some Britons but when Chinese tourists were asked to name the European country showing the most hospitality to travellers, France came out on top.
When looking at the most hospitable countries in the world, Australia topped the list, followed by Singapore, with France and New Zealand equal third.
In comparison, the UK only ranked in joint 10th place with Germany among the friendliest nations in Europe, according to big-spending Chinese tourists.
France also beat the UK, and other European countries, on a list of places Chinese travellers would like to go to and also to which they have been, according to the latest statistics from Hotels.com.
The positive news for France comes just weeks after ministers said the nation had to be friendlier to tourists if it wanted to keep attracting them to its shores.
Speaking about how to attract 100 million tourists to France, Foreign Affairs minister Laurent Fabius echoed her sentiment, saying: ‘The logic is simple, an unhappy tourist is a tourist that never comes back.’
According to Pierre Gervois, Publisher of the Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine – and former Chief of staff of Mr Fabius, “Chinese tourists have incredibly evolved during the last five years. The old stereotypes are no more valid now, and they genuinely want to enjoy the very best experiences in France, starting by five star hotels- and no more low budget hotels”
When asked to name their wish-list destinations, Chinese travellers put Australia at the top, with France second and New Zealand third. The UK was seventh.
The country the Chinese had visited most was the US, with France fifth and the UK sixth.
Of the destinations searched for by Chinese travellers on Hotels.com in the first five months of this year, Hong Kong was top, with Paris ninth and London 13th. The French and the UK capitals were the only European destinations in the top 20 in this category.
The Chinese were the biggest spenders on hotel accommodation in Australia, Japan, Holland and New Zealand last year.
In France they were the third-biggest spenders, while in the UK they were the eighth-biggest.
Hotels.com said by 2017 it is predicted that Chinese tourists will spend £1 billion in the UK, an increase of 84 per cent compared with 2013 figures.
Matt Walls of Hotels.com said: ‘Chinese travellers appear to be prioritising destinations that are most welcoming to them. In Europe we are seeing France win out against other countries as a result of its efforts to make it easier for Chinese people to visit.
‘Until recently, the UK’s visa processes have acted as a deterrent to many Chinese visitors due to their complexity. However, the reforms announced recently should make a considerable difference.
‘he sooner these changes are introduced, the sooner UK businesses can benefit from the upsurge in international travel by the Chinese.’
A total of 3,000 Chinese international travellers and 3,000 worldwide hoteliers were surveyed.
Source: Daily Mail