Chinese set to be Paris shopping champions
Chinese tourists are likely to overtake their Japanese counterparts as 2008’s shopping champions of Paris.6 Paris 2008
PARIS - Chinese tourists are set to overtake the Japanese this year as the new shopping champions of Paris as ever bigger spenders flock to the city's department stores, according to a new study.
Shoppers from Japan, who travel in their tens of thousands to shop tax-free in the French capital's flagship stores, still held the crown in 2007, snapping up EUR 87 million worth of fashion and gifts.
But their Paris shopping budget has slipped 35 percent in the last two years, while Chinese spending doubled over the same period, according to the study released Wednesday by the Paris tourism office.
"The euro has become extremely expensive for Japanese tourists," explained Jean-Marc Leroy, head of the Global Refund tax-free shopping network.
"They can increasingly find French products in Tokyo and so they are less inclined to come shopping in Paris."
Last year, Chinese shoppers spent EUR 79 million in Paris' tax-free shops, followed by EUR 72 million for Russians and EUR 71 million for US visitors. This year the study predicts China will overtake Japan as the biggest spender.
The study was based on purchases made in stores belonging to the Global Refund network.
France is the most popular European holiday destination for Chinese tourists, with around 700,000 Chinese flocking to the country last year.
Non-European residents are entitled to a 12-percent tax refund in French shops on goods intended to be taken back home, which retailers says allow Paris to compete with global shopping destinations Singapore, Dubai or Hong Kong.
But French tour operators are bracing for a damaging plunge in business after reports that an order was given to Chinese travel agents to stop selling trips to the country.
Paris has asked Beijing for an explanation over the claims, which came after the Olympic torch relay in the French capital was disrupted by human rights and pro-Tibet protesters, souring relations between the two countries.
[APF / Expatica]