Zut Alors! Rude French Scaring Off Tourists

Sweeten up, official warns his compatriots
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2007 10:49 AM CDT
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(Newser) – France to the French: Take it easy on foreigners. After the land of vin and fromage fell for the first time in years as the top traveling spot, the tourism bureau has issued guidelines about courtesy, the Guardian reports. “Our greatest handicap,” said a tourist official, “is our perceived lack of friendliness.”

The US and Spain both bested France in tourism income, and the government wants a bottom-up fix. An agency called Meeting the French, for example, will pair visitors with home-cooked meals. What's more, the tourism chief advises his countrymen, “Don't throw change on the counter” and: “If you do speak some English, do not pretend you don’t.”