PARIS: The French Tourism Ministry is launching a pounds 5 million
advertising and PR campaign to reassure tourists that France’s Atlantic
beaches are clean after last December’s Erika oil spill off
Michelle Demessine, secretary of state for tourism, said the spill
caused sufficient damage to French tourism that, without such a
campaign, the industry - which employs two million people - would be
With more than 70 million tourists each year, France has regularly been
the world’s most visited tourist destination.
Demessine estimated that clean-up efforts have generated more than
pounds 20 million of free publicity in the international press, but felt
a wide-ranging PR campaign was necessary to encourage tourists back to
the ’Atlantic Arc’ beaches. Tactics include renaming the region ’la
France Atlantique,’ and publicising the slogan Respirez, vous etes en
France Atlantique (Breathe, you are in Atlantic France), during a
two-year pan-European campaign.
Two-thirds of the pounds 5 million will be met by Total, whose oil the
Erika was carrying when it sank.
Edited by Gidon Freeman.