Polish tourism ad plays on French fear of immigrants

In a tongue-in-cheek dig at the French fear of eastern European migrant workers, the Polish tourist board is using the image of a handsome plumber to promote Poland as a holiday destination.

The board's website sports the image of a seductive blonde man clutching pipes and a monkey-wrench beneath the slogan, "I am staying in Poland -- come on over."

During the campaign leading to the French "no" in a May referendum on the EU constitution, the "Polish plumber" became a symbol of the cheap labour from new member states which was supposedly a threat to French jobs.

"People in Poland were really fed up with being made to take the blame," said Elzbieta Janek of the Polish tourist office in Paris.

"We decided the best response was humour. Our job is to encourage people to visit Poland, and this was a good way of defusing the tension and showing the French that they are always welcome," she said.