Spain and France are by far the first two world powers of tourism. Between the two countries receive annually about 140 million tourists. Of the two powerful cultures emerging companies with strong sense of identity and a common history has often traveled paths of conflict or indifference. The two countries are so close and yet so different at first glance one imagines them as complementary cultural and tourist companies.
As you only have to exercise informal chat with French friends to hear how some prejudices begin to surface in conversation. Many people in France who have not crossed the Pyrenees ever, still imagine Spain as a backward country, a place of sun beach, party, bulls and little else. Site of emigration of rural and patriarchal customs. Many have trouble accepting the obvious development that has launched the country for several decades. If they do recognize it reluctantly. Community and linguistic particularities of Spain are, for example, incomprehensible to an average tourist hears French Catalan and not Spanish in Barcelona.
For its part the Spanish have difficulty in tune with the special French character. The Spanish, direct, outspoken and sometimes folksy, go shallow and mannered French forms. Although fascinated and recognize the natural and cultural heritage of France, the Spanish complain, often with good reason, bad or indifferent treatment of employees in the catering and accommodation are often not very nice indeed. Until a few years ago it was difficult to find information in Castilian in the tourist information centers in France. Although apoC things change, today remains a minority language, after English German or Italian. But today we can find the Tourist Office in the beautiful city of Arles to a Spanish girl who can tell us in our language. As a token worth a button. The guidebooks have proliferated and even the eyes of their editors often reinforce topics, these publications increased talk of a real interest in the French tourism market in Spain.
In the opposite direction, according to a study commissioned by the Maison de France to the company Ipsos in 2007, 88 per cent of Spanish have a favorable opinion about France as a tourist destination but most people complain of the treatment, the excessively high prices and difficulties for a night out. Were considered as very positive environment conservation and security. Slowly collecting behavior changes either side of the Pyrenees, efforts to build bridges to help mutual understanding and development of the tourism industry. According to official figures of 2006 about 9.2 million French tourists visited Spain. For his part, Spanish 5.5 million visited France in 2007, representing an increase of 12 percent of the previous year.
On the Spanish tourist in France I tell a story home. My brother Jordi, Catalonia, of course, frequently visits the country for some time. Provence that one year, the Riviera on the other, or the castles of the Loire next year. I well remember when I said back in 2000, the dissatisfaction that had caused some reactions incompressible by the French. For example, a waiter in Paris who did not understand the word “coca” in Coca Cola, perhaps the most universal word in the world with “taxi”. The guy did not want to understand, my brother said indignantly. A typical case and a thousand times repeated in French soil. This year, Jordi and his family journey to Disneyland Paris, suddenly found themselves lost somewhere in the middle of France. A French family car, recognizing the tuition Spanish, tried to help and led for a few miles to find the appropriate path. A good reminder of kindness for me brother French Catalan.
Last summer I accompanied and guided to two good friends Majorcan French lands. In his first visit to Spain the beauty and character of the island left my friends that fascinated, is fair to say, they were greeted like royalty. It was days of joy vital that completely transformed. The two are planning his return to the island.
I have no doubt that small daily acts are essential to the image that tourists and travelers form of villages. The warmth and spontaneity Spanish could be an example for the French, often prisoners of forms. The refinement, manners and pride of the French culinary heritage could inspire Spanish sometimes overlook the details. The two countries have a universal cultural heritage and a unique beauty in their respective genres. The two companies have much to show and share.
The Spanish and French should take the plunge and finally launched to discover their neighbor without fear or complex. I think its worth.