What advice would a tourist board give to the local community when the tourist numbers drop? Smile! The Paris tourist board concluded that appearance matters. The tourist board proceeded to request that the residents of Paris smile. After conducting a travelers survey it was found that among the high cost of travel, tourists experience included the perception of unpleasantness. The tourist board concluded that the impressions people form about Parisians affect the overall tourist economy.
However, asking the locals to smile is not enough. When visiting Paris expect to be greeted by specialists known as “smile ambassadors”. On certain days you may even experience roller skaters gather to form a smile.
The story featured in the Reuters section, Oddly enough, may not be as odd as it is presented to be. Social Psychologists, Leslie A. Zebrowitz and Joann M. Montepare, 2008, explain why first impressions start with looking at a persons face and how people make judgments about others. A safe conclusion is that smiling will give the best impression, tourists or not.
Read more: Reuters article on Paris smile campaign