Minn. tourism agency puts focus on French visitors

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Minnesota may lack the glamour of Paris, but a new effort aims to make the state attractive to French vacationers.

Minnesota's tourism agency says it will spend up to $45,000 next year to build an on-the-ground marketing presence in France. That includes establishing custom promotions for French tourists and developing a website with an in-country address. The state is currently seeking vendors to carry out the work.

An official with Explore Minnesota Tourism says an uptick in nonstop flights between France and Minnesota makes it an ideal time build a deeper connection. France has been a secondary market for the Minnesota promotion agency behind Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries.

In the coming months, state tourism officials plan to pursue similar arrangements for Mexico and China.