The Guardian: A huge Chinese company, Tiens Group, is treating more than half of its 12,000 employees to a four-day holiday in France and has booked up 140 hotels in the capital Paris as part of the package, a French foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Thursday.
According to Le Parisien newspaper, the trip by the 6,400-strong group includes a mass visit to the Louvre museum, and they are expected to spend €13m euros (US$15m) in total.
The spokeswoman said the company chairman Li Jinyuan met foreign minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday and “the group will be in Nice tomorrow and the day after”.
According to the Tiens website, Li founded the group in 1995 and has expanded it into an international conglomerate with businesses in biotechnology, health management, ecommerce, hotel and tourism, among others. The 57-year-old is listed on the Forbes 2011 list of the world’s billionaires.
France, which is struggling to revive its economy, is the most visited country in the world, according to the latest UN figures, and is seeing an increasing number of tourists from China. Almost 85m foreigners a year support a €150bn ($177 bn) industry that delivers 7% of the nation’s GDP, according to government figures.
In 2013, the vast majority of visitors to France were from other European countries, but about 3.1m came from the United States and 1.7m from China.