Chinese tourists have a love-hate relationship with Paris. They adore its architecture, its parks and its fabulous shopping. But they don’t always like the food – it is often too creamy — and they are occasionally bemused by the attitudes of their city hosts.
Lately there has been something new for them to worry about: robbery. Thieves have been targeting Chinese visitors because they know they are likely to be carrying larger amounts of cash and high-end goods.
The issue hogged the headlines in China last March when a group of 23 tourists were stripped of their passports, plane tickets and wallets shortly after arriving at Charles De Gaulle airport. Since then there has been a stream of stories in the media and on weibo about how France, which gets a million visitors from China every year, is no longer a safe place to visit.
Thus the announcement by the French interior ministry last week that it has invited Chinese police to Paris this summer to help protect their fellow countrymen. The Chinese officers will work alongside their French colleagues, Le Monde quoted a government spokesperson as saying.
A drop off in Chinese custom would be a serious blow to Paris high-end shops, many of which have recruited Chinese-speaking staff to help them attract big-spending customers.
From the perspective of the Chinese shopper it often makes economic sense to fly to France to buy luxury goods because the mark-up on the same items is so steep at home. If tourists purchase goods ordered by their friends and family, the trips turn out to be even better value. But sadly many criminals have cottoned on to this shopping tactic and now wait for Chinese tour groups outside the more prestigious shops, an AFP report claimed.
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