May 17, 2024 - World

France brushes up hospitality skills ahead of Olympic Games

Paris cafe

A Parisian cafe on May 7. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images

France is calling on Paris businesses to polish up their hospitality skills ahead of the influx of visitors flocking to this summer's Olympic Games.

Why it matters: The country is determined to shake its clichéd reputation for being rude to embrace the more than 1 million visitors who will pump as much as $12 billion into the economy during the games.

The big picture: France's tourism stakeholders recently issued a hospitality charter that outlines commitments — developed in consultation with the French government — for businesses to agree to.

  • These commitments seek to cement France "as a leading tourist destination in terms of service quality," the charter notes.
  • "France must live up to the event and visitors' expectations, in order to retain them and encourage them to come back in our country," it added, highlighting the importance of warmly welcoming visitors in cafes, hotels and restaurants.
  • So far, more than 1,600 businesses have signed the charter.
  • Paris is also training workers in places like bakeries and newspaper kiosks to answer tourists' questions, the Washington Post reported.

Zoom in: The charter includes commitments for businesses to clearly display the languages spoken by staff at an establishment and to offer menus and information in multiple languages.

  • The charter also includes commitments towards inclusivity, such as strengthening accessibility for disabled or elderly visitors, and environmental goals, such as encouraging "the use of products without packaging or with recyclable packaging."
  • It is also intended to support local businesses, such as through a commitment to "maximize the use of local products in food and catering."
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