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Visiting France

Paris region to launch charm offensive after huge drop in tourism

media Tourists in France of Paris's Notre Dame cathedral AFP

The Paris region lost a billion euros a month in income from tourism in the first eight months of the year due to 2015's terror attacks and heavy rain and floods in 2016, according to regional council leader Valérie Pécresse who announced a charm offensive to revive foreign visitors's love affair with the French capital.

Between January and August 2016 a million fewer tourists visited Paris and its surrounding region every month, cutting monthly income by a billion euros, Pécresse, who heads the Ile de France regional council, told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper this weekend.

After visiting Tokyo, Seoul, New York and Boston to discuss with tourism professionals and investors, she has drawn up a plan to court potential visitors, scared off by terror attacks and June's freak bad weather.

It includes:

  • Tourism volunteers, students who can speak English deployed at tourist sites to help tourists;

  • A CityPass, a single ticket for public transport and entry to major tourist venues, which she hopes will be operational in September 2018;

  • Mobile police stations at tourist sites from January 2017;

  • A name change for the state of emergency, judged an intimidating term, to "state of high security";

  • A website Welcome to Paris region that will bring together information and services for visitors to be launched in June 2017;

  • Improving language skills of tourism professionals by subsidising training and e-learning;

  • An joint campaign of "unpredented scale" by local authorities to promote tourism in the region.

The region is to devote 23 million euros to tourism in its 2017 budget.

Pécresse hopes that 200 tourism volunteers will be recruited for this year's Christmas and New Year festivities and paid the minimum rate for interns, 250 euros for a fortnight's work.

She hopes that 1,000 will be recruited for summer 2017.

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