French Urged to be More Polite to Their Tourists


Apparently, even the French are getting tired of the French attitude.

Earlier this month, France’s foreign minister Laurent Fabius announced a new campaign to boost French tourism in part by encouraging locals to discourage the stereotype of snooty French hospitality in favor of more polite reception of tourists.

Laurent Fabius, Foreign Minister of France

Laurent Fabius, Foreign Minister of France

The campaign was supported by Zoe Reyners, CEO of the public relations agency Katch & Reyners, who said the initiative may have been prompted by fierce competition from other picturesque and tourist-ridden European countries.

“I do think there was a little bit of a stress when Britain or Spain was on the verge of being more touristic countries than France,” Reyners said. “So I think that it was probably after this that the foreign ministry decided to start this campaign. But I do think that if French people think that tourists are more of a gift, if it becomes more of a national conscience, it will be good for the country.”

Others maintain that the French’s reputation for rudeness is understandable, considering the intolerable and often absurd tourists constantly pushing their way through the popular country’s borders.

“They don’t love it when American tourists, in particular, are running around being loud or obnoxious or smacking you in the head with a selfie stick,” said Jo Piazza, managing editor of Yahoo Travel.

Piazza attributes the French distaste towards tourists to the behavior of the tourists themselves. The responsibility for change, Piazza said, should be on visitors to be more respectful when they head to foreign countries.

The French – and most cultures for that matter – tend to show more tolerance when foreign visitors treat their country with respect, and at the very least make an effort to speak the local language. The blame finger may be on Americans for now, but how are Australians being received abroad?

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Lisa Nikolau

Lisa Nikolau is a freelance writer who has been specializing in travel, culture and current events since 2012. She currently writes on travel and news related topics for has traveled to Peru, throughout west and eastern Europe, and has lived in southern Spain.At the moment, Lisa’s favorite pastimes are learning foreign languages, exploring hiking trails in the Olympic National Forest, and ending the day with friends at one of Seattle’s many microbreweries.