With opinion polls indicating that Chinese sentiment towards France has greatly deteriorated after the Paris Olympic torch pro-Tibet protests, it’s not completely surprising that tourism from Beijing to France has fallen by 70 percent in the past few weeks. But suspicions have arisen that Beijing’s official tourism body has taken measures to stop the city’s potential travelers from patronizing France. “We were given the assurance that there had never been an order for tourism agencies to boycott France,” French ambassador to China Herve Ladsous announced in a press briefing (quoted here in Reuters UK). The decrease in Chinese travelers can partly be explained by an official order discouraging overseas travel after the recent devastation in Sichuan and the upcoming excitement of the Olympics. Ladsous, however, has voiced doubts:
But there is more than that as France has been more directly touched and it is clear that the fall of two-thirds relates to Beijing, whereas in Shanghai, where the authorities did not give any instruction, the visas continued to be delivered at the same speed as before.
Meanwhile, as Paris mourns the loss of its Beijing patrons, Los Angeles welcomes the first-ever leisure tour groups from China.
Photo by Marcio Cabral de Moura.