France urges Britons to stay away from top destinations

France is planning to use social media influencers to encourage tourists to stay away from some of the country’s most popular destinations.

The country’s new campaign will promote some of its lesser-known destinations in a bid to combat overtourism.

In 2019, before the pandemic, over 90 million international tourists visited France and it’s the world’s most visited country.

Destinations under pressure from tourist hordes include Mont Saint-Michel and venues featured in the Netflix series, Emily in Paris.

The cliffs of Étretat in Normandy are also on the list after they became popular since being used as a location in Lupin.

France’s tourism minister, Olivia Grégoire, told Le Figaro: “If we want to free up sites that are overly frequented, we need to bring other destinations to the fore and other tourist itineraries.”

The minister said that 80 percent of the country’s visitors travel to just 20 percent of France. The campaign will aim to promote year-round tourism spread over the whole country.

Officials have warned that overcrowding at key sites has become a “threat” to the environment and quality of life of residents.

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France may also use “de-marketing” campaigns to discourage tourists. This technique involves sharing photos of overcrowded tourist destinations.

Mont-Saint-Michel has already done this and shared photos of tourists in huge queues to see the famous site.

Other destinations have announced caps on visitor numbers. The Calanques National Park, near Marseille, has already done so.

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Paris’ tourism office has predicted that more than 37 million visitors will travel to the capital this year alone.

British tourists are second only to Americans in the rankings with many expected to visit the same key sites.

The city’s most visited attractions include the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and the Versailles Palace.

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