French wine tourism website launched
Attractiveness/launch of the wine tourism portal – Press conference by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (excerpts)
Paris, 9 February 2016
The wine sector is a very important sector both economically and culturally, and it’s part of France’s identity. The figures are striking: there’s a slightly facetious side to the note prepared for me, because I’m told annual wine exports are equivalent to the sale of 114 Rafales. (…)
As for tourism, I’ve very often had the opportunity in this room to recall the facts and figures. Tourism is our best ambassador, and it accounts for more than 7% of national wealth and two million jobs, so it’s significant.
And when you bring together those two sectors, wine and tourism, well, you get wine tourism. Obviously you have to add the regions, regional life and attractiveness.
So I think it’s an excellent cause. In the modern world, you have to simply make yourself known. So far, a number of efforts have been made, but not yet strongly enough. Hence Mme Cathiard’s idea of having a bilingual wine tourism portal, which is going to be unveiled to us – in the future it may be trilingual, quadrilingual, I don’t know yet, we must be bold – and which will obviously greatly simplify things, because it will enable everyone all over the world to click on “Visit French Wine”. (…)
In 2010, according to the figure I have, three million foreign tourists visited the various wine tourism sites. The goal – we must always set ourselves goals – is that, at least in the coming years, perhaps [by] 2020, we can reach four million visitors; we must be able to achieve this.
Wine now isn’t merely a product – I see this in particular with the Chinese, whom I often meet –, it’s become increasingly a culture, and so people want to be told a story about wine and see in practical terms how wine-growers work, what the châteaux are like, how wine is produced and what the environment is. So people are increasingly going to come here, and that will be beneficial for everyone. So I think the work that’s been done will now be extremely useful. (…)
So there you are: contributing to the influence of our wines in France and abroad; contributing to the development of tourism both for French people and the whole world; discovering all our regions and not just Paris, even though there is a little vineyard in Montmartre but I’m not sure we should advise people to taste it, and in any case it wouldn’t satisfy all the demand; encouraging the development of new income-generating activities for wine-growers and the whole surrounding population; that’s the goal early this morning, and I’m sure this goal will be achieved in the coming months and years. (…)
We’re counting on you to ensure this site is consulted very widely. The goal is simple: for the maximum number of people, French and foreign, to have access to the beautiful things and the products we have. I believe in this, because there are ever more people travelling around the world, and they’re looking for excellent products. There’s also a desire to encounter history, to give meaning to what we experience, what we eat and what we see.
All this is combined in the promotion of wine tourism. (…)./.