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Words in the News
 
Friday 04 July 2003
 
Paris woos America
 
Eiffel tower Paris has launched a campaign to woo back American tourists, who've stayed away in droves following the row between Washington and Paris over the war on Iraq. To celebrate Independence Day, the Paris tourist bureau will be distributing gifts to visitors from the US and draping offices and hotels in the colours of the American flag. From Paris, Caroline Wyatt reports.
 
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The French capital is determined to use this Independence Day to woo back America - or at least, the Americans currently boycotting the city. President Jacques Chirac's 'no' to Washington over the war in Iraq has had a real economic impact here. Last year, Paris played host to nearly two million American visitors. This year, the numbers are down by a quarter. With tourism one of France's biggest earners, this is a real problem. So to celebrate the Fourth of July, the Paris tourist board will be handing out free gifts to US visitors, and will even decorate its offices with the Stars-and-Stripes. France has already made a video aimed at luring back US tourists, in which film director Woody Allen expresses his hopes for closer relations:

American film director Woody Allen:
"When I will not have to refer to my French fried potatoes as 'Freedom Fries' and I don't have to 'freedom kiss' my wife, when what I really want to do is French kiss her. So, let's pull together now."
The French video is called 'Falling in Love Again' but judging by the declining number of American tourists here, it may be a rather one-sided affair.

Caroline Wyatt, BBC, Paris.

 
 
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Independence Day
 
on July 4th 1776 American President John Hancock signed a declaration of Independence from Britain
 
woo
 
trying to persuade people to come back to France
 
boycotting
 
when people boycott a country they refuse to have anything to do with it because they disapprove of it for some reason
 
real economic impact
 
a noticeable bad effect on the economy
 
played host to
 
received as guests
 
biggest earners
 
one of the sectors of the economy which earns the most money
 
closer relations
 
the way that countries - and people - behave towards each other
 
'freedom kiss'
 
in American English 'French fries' are fried potatoes (chips): but during the Iraq war some Americans changed the name to 'freedom fries' in protest against France's opposition to the war
 
declining number
 
if the number of visitors is declining it is becoming fewer
 
one-sided affair
 
where one country (or person) likes the other, but the other doesn't feel the same way
 
 
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