France tourism sector relying on Chinese tourists for strong rebound

 Friday, February 3, 2023 


China’s recent relaxation of cross-border travel restrictions has made the tourism sector in France quite hopeful fuelling expectations of a return to pre-COVID-19 tourist numbers, Xinhua news agency reported.

France hosted nearly 90 million international tourists in 2019, which made it the top tourist destination in the world in terms of tourist arrivals. In the same year, more than 50 million tourists visited the Paris region, and Chinese tourists made up the second-largest cluster.

France generated over one billion euros (1.08 billion U.S. dollars) in tourism revenues, the Paris Ile-de-France Regional Tourism Committee said.

Air connectivity between France and China has been gradually improving. Air France now operates two flights per week to Shanghai and one to Beijing. Three weekly direct flights have been operating to Hong Kong since Jan. 9, and a third to Shanghai will be added in February.

Passenger transport capacities are expected to be strengthened by next summer, according to the French Embassy in China.

“Chinese tourists are mainly welcomed by operators specializing in Chinese or Asian customers. Of course, due to the absence of the Chinese, they remained in apnea for three years, which is extremely long, extremely hard,” Jean-Pierre Mas, president of Les Entreprises du Voyage, said.

“They benefited from the support of the state, but the support, there is no longer any today, and they, therefore, count on the return of the Chinese,” he explained.

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