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France Eyes Tourism to Help Invigorate Wine Sector

PARIS – French authorities are targeting tourism as part of an effort to bolster the country’s wine industry against rising global competition.

While France is already the world’s most popular tourist destination, with wine a major part of its appeal, the trade thinks it can go a lot further in tapping into visitor interest.

The government will unveil on Tuesday a body to promote wine tourism, headed by international tourism and leisure industry veteran Paul Dubrule.

He is the co-founder of French hotel group Accor and author of a government-commissioned report on developing tourism around wine.

“We’ve fallen behind (other countries) in terms of marketing our offer,” said Camille Barnier, head of wine tourism at Burgundy wine association BIVB.

“We’ve rested a bit on our laurels.”

Promoting wine tourism is part of a government five-year plan unveiled in 2008 to modernize the wine industry in France and make it more competitive on the world market.

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