The Growth of Stealth Tourism

Easter has come and gone, the flowers are blooming, the sky is blue and tour busses fill the streets. The tourist season has begun in France. Yet there is a group of tourists you won’t see plodding through the Louvre. They are the Stealth Tourists and a company in France is taking aim at this growing market.

Tours, France (PRWEB) May 4, 2006 — The annual ritual has begun anew as spring brings the return of the swallows and the tourists en mass upon the greatest tourist destination in the world: France. All told, 71.5 million* foreigners descend upon France every year to trod through the halls of the Louvre, gaze at the Eiffel Tower and shuffle through the corridors of Versailles. It is by far the most heavily traveled leisure market in the world contributing more to the French economy than haute couture and quiche combined.

Camera wielding foreigners, looking every bit the tourists, pack into lines of busses to be carted off along the heavily trodden trails of tourism. Without knowing it, they subject themselves to France’s mighty tourism machine of one-size-fits-all tours and indifferent French attitudes. However, there is a growing breed of individual who shies away from the tourist persona. They are the stealth tourists.

Stealth tourists have always been around in comparatively small numbers. They are those people brave enough to step away from the capital cities and explore on their own. They are those who learn the local language or those who have local friends to show them around. In other words, stealth tourists are truly rare. However, with the growing threat of terrorism to tourist destinations and with a general desire to separate themselves from the crowd, the ranks of those seeking the stealth tourist experience are growing.

There is a specialized company dedicated to serving this burgeoning class of tourists. Available throughout France, A Guide in France is a private guide, translation, interpreting and itinerary-building service focused on showing their clients that there is more to France than the Eiffel Tower. The company is owned by a French national, Valerie Chevrier, and an American, Bryan Banke, both devout stealth travelers themselves with years of experience in the fine arts of blending in and not looking like tourists.

A Guide in France provides various levels of guide services ranging from simple telephone support up to complete, travel-by-your-side care. With their At Your Request program, A Guide in France provides their client with a French cell phone and a phone number that can be called 15 hours a day with questions, directions or to handle bothersome travel glitches. A Guide in France will even do the talking for the client when the language barrier becomes too great.

On the other end of the spectrum is Travel Partners, a complete service where A Guide in France assists their client with itinerary planning, picks them up at the airport then travels by their side. It is a highly flexible program designed to accommodate a full range of travelers from the timid to the experienced. The client determines the company’s involvement in their travels.

A Guide in France does not offer pre-packaged tours, preferring instead to design custom itineraries to meet the individual tastes of every customer. They also provide professional interpreting services for business and translation services for business and scholastic purposes.

For more information on A Guide in France, contact Bryan Banke at:

* Source: World Tourism Organization, 2004

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