France welcomes Chinese tourists

Updated: 2014-03-26 08:32

By Zhou Wa (China Daily)

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France would like to welcome as many Chinese tourists as possible, said French Ambassador to China Sylvie Bermann in an interview in anticipation of President Xi Jinping's visit to her country Wednesday.

"Our foreign minister recently said we want to receive 5 million Chinese visitors by 2020. Last year we already received 1.6 million. We took measures to further reinforce security and facilitate visa delivery issues," said the ambassador.

French authorities have announced a reduction of the duration for visa application processes for Chinese applicants in order to attract more of the country's tourists.

According to the new rules, Chinese tourists can have travel documents processed from 10 working days in the past to no more than 48 hours today.

Furthermore, they can also submit their visa applications at the consulate nearest to their residence, rather than where their hukou, or urban residence permit, was granted.

Visitors applying for visas will also be exempted from providing English and French translations of their documents in addition to the employment certificate.

"I think Paris attracts so many tourists from the entire world, it is such a beautiful city, harmonious and at the same time so culturally rich. But as you know, there is not only Paris, France has a wonderful diversity of landscapes like Britany or Provence, a lot of castles, French cuisine of course and luxury goods" said the ambassador.

"There are so many things to see and discover. Paris boasts one of the richest and most diverse cultural lifestyles in the world. It is thriving with theaters, movie theaters and museums."

In order to attract more Chinese tourists, France also vowed to issue more multiple entry visas as it said more visitors prefer in-depth tours and business trips.

President Xi is paying his first visit to France and other countries in Western Europe since taking office last March.

Europe is also Xi's first foreign destination since the closing of the nation's annual "two sessions", at which members of China's top legislative and advisory bodies discuss policies and make national-level political decisions.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and France.

Last April, French President Francois Hollande became the first head of state from a major Western nation to visit China after the new Chinese leadership assumed office, which was an important landmark for the bilateral relations.

During his visit, French and Chinese authorities signed various deals altogether, including agreements on tourism, agricultural products, nuclear power, urbanization and others.


 France welcomes Chinese tourists

Chinese dancers perform at the city hall square in Paris, France, in February 2011 to celebrate the Chinese New Year. China and France have exchanges in various fields including culture, tourism and technology. Gao Jing / Xinhua