France’s drinks producers believe their ‘tourisme typique’ will pull in record-breaking visitor numbers this summer, according to the country’s new tourist chief.
In a faxed press release André Gite said ‘We are sure that millions of people will be desperate to travel this summer as lockdown relaxes. And I would like to reassure them that our growers, winemakers and distillers will be here waiting for them when they do.
‘At least some of the time.’
The ministry has worked hard to address France’s famously draconian opening hours.
‘Most of our members will probably still be shut for two hours at lunchtime,’ said Gite, ‘and obviously weekends and August are sacrosanct.
‘But we are encouraging them to open fifteen minutes earlier if tourists really want to come then.
‘And don’t mind waiting quarter of an hour.
‘Provided it isn’t a bank holiday.’
Pas aujourd’hui. Desolé
The country’s producers have been working hard to perfect their traditional USPs: ‘bored shuffle round the garage’ (cellar tour) , ‘tasting of borderline-illegal old spirit’ (heritage experience) and of course the ubiquitous ‘degustation gastronomique’.
‘We know that guests love sticky plastic tables, warm thimbles of wine and plates of rubbery cheese from the local supermarché,’ said Gite.
‘They will all be here and just as good as ever.
‘Unless the deli counter is shut.’
Je m’en fax
According to the ministry, booking is ‘seamless’, with almost half of members now accepting both faxed and postal reservations.
All producers, it says, have a phone, even if they rarely pick it up, and the government has run extensive courses to help them brush up their communication skills.
Around half of them can now say ‘nous sommes fermés’ in at least three languages.
Critics have questioned whether 20-somethings will want to stay in a non-air-conditioned ruin or wait three days to taste Bergerac blanc.
But Gite was dismissive.
‘Millennials love all this stuff,’ he told Fake Booze. ‘Our competitors might be slick and digital. But we are authentic and analogue.
‘In fact, we’re better than that.