The year 2020 will be celebrated as 'Qatar-France Year of Culture', French Minister of State for International Trade Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne on Saturday said.
Addressing a press conference at Galeries Lafayette at Katara Cultural Village, he said various programmes that highlight the heritage and cultural credentials of the two countries will be held in Qatar and France as part of the year of culture. 
The year will be dedicated for French culture in Qatar. Concerts, exhibitions and art events will be held across the country. The two countries will work together for the successful implementation of the plans. Besides, special packages will be also announced in a bid to attract tourists both ways. 
“The two countries will host an exciting array of cultural programmes and these will strengthen the alliance in tourism sector,” he said adding the celebrations will help Qatar and France reap benefits. 
Lemoyne said Galeries Lafayette will highlight French culture and strengthen the tourism sectors of France and Qatar. “New steps, being taken by the two countries will attract tourists from Qatar to France where all facilities and security will be ensured for them. Besides, new initiatives will result in the number of tourists -both ways -remarkably going up,” Lemoyne said.
The minister, who claimed France is on top of the list of countries with high yields from tourism , said the country has much confidence in its tourism sector. “For France, last year was a successful year in terms of tourism,” he said.
Lemoyne said the 90mn international tourists, who visited France last year, spent some 57bn euros in the country. “We want to retain the tag of number one country in tourism and every possible effort will be taken (to maintain the position),” he said adding talks were held with high level officials of Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) on strengthening tourism ties between Qatar and France. “We will work with Qatar Airways and QNTC. We want Qatari visitors to go to France and explore its heritage and culture. The latest initiatives will increase the tourist flow from Qatar to France by 20%,” he said.
Lemoyne said the tourism sector in France, Italy and Spain was affected by the crisis in Europe. “France witnessed a dip in international flight arrivals by six to seven percent and the country is overcoming the crisis,” he said.
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