As the world's favourite tourist destination, France welcomes more than 80 million international visitors every year. There are many aspects to that worldwide appeal, but there remains one unassailable constant: the French flair which continues to circle the globe, and which Paris embodies so perfectly. That flair has its roots in a treasured and knowledgeable blend of culture, heritage, creativity, gastronomy, fashion, luxury, design, arts and crafts.
The diverse creativity of those who contribute to the cultural life of the the capital and its region showcases that flare through their open attitude to embracing new practices and adding new layers of diversity every year to appeals to all audiences and adapt to every type of tourism.
Nevertheless, if we want to retain this privileged status, we must be continually vigilant, and work together even more closely to consolidate and boost the reputation of our country abroad.
To maximise our chances of doing so, we announced the launch of this "Saison culturelle 2017" (Cultural Season 2017) at the first Rencontres du Tourisme Culturel at the Centre Pompidou last December. The ministries of Culture and Communication, Foreign Affairs and International Development are committed to playing their respective roles in promoting cultural tourism to the people of France and to international visitors.
The decision to showcase for the first time the exceptional spectrum of French culture, its rich heritage, its creative diversity, the vitality of its artistic life and festivals, and the elegance of its lifestyle responds directly to this ambition, and was included in the governmental announcements on boosting the appeal of France as a tourist destination made by the Interministerial Committee on Tourism at its meeting of 7 November last year.
The "Saison culturelle 2017" is the centrepiece of a national and international communication campaign, and is sure to boost the appeal of France even further.
As a result of the partnership between the City of Paris and the Paris Region - with the active and extremely welcome collaboration of Atout France - all the programmes of cultural events developed by the capital and its region will now be advertised and promoted widely through a campaign run in France and internationally.
We are in no doubt that the "Saison culturelle 2017" will prove essential for lovers of Paris and its region as they make their travel decisions and plan their visits.
Minister of Culture and Communication
Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad