13 months: how long it will take Paris to recover from terrorist attacks
World Trade and Tourism Council research
Published 03/12/2015 | 07:25
History suggests that tourism in Paris will bounce back within 13 months, writes Soo Kim.
Tourism to Paris is expected to recover from November's terror attack within 13 months, according to research by the World Trade and Tourism Council (WTTC).
Its study, which looked at 32 countries that had been affected by a range of crises between 2001 and 2014, found that this was how long it took on average for visitor numbers to return to previous levels following a terrorist attack.
The impact was far more brief in some cases.
Arrivals to Spain after the Madrid train bombings in 2004 returned to pre-bombing levels within weeks, while the July 7 attacks in London were said to have “no notable impact on tourist arrivals to the UK”.
While travel companies and airlines claim that few people have cancelled their plans to visit Paris, hotel occupancy has fallen to as low as five per cent at some properties.
Major attractions in the French capital, including the Eiffel Tower, have now reopened, but the US last month issued a worldwide travel alert, which it is thought will deter many from visiting.
There remains a high threat from terrorism within France and its capital, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the UK Foreign Office.
The country is in the midst of a three-month national state of emergency, they warn, and travellers are advised to allow time for any disruption that heightened security measures may cause.
The average recovery time for a country following a terrorism crisis was found to be quicker than those affected by disease or environmental disaster, after which it takes 21 months and 24 months to recover respectively, the study revealed.
Political turmoil was found to have the greatest impact on recovery time, taking an average of 27 months for a country to return to “business as usual”.
“There is a less definite end point to political turmoil, so it can take more time for potential tourists to trust the stability of the destination,” a WTTC spokesperson said.
The context of a terrorist attack was found to have a greater influence on its impact in a country than its scale, as demonstrated in the 2002 and 2005 bombings in Indonesia compared to the bombings in Madrid.
The Madrid bombing had a similar death toll to the larger of the Indonesian attacks but a significantly lower impact on tourist arrivals, according to the findings.
Full recoveries from environmental disasters have inevitably been more drawn out because of the time often required to rebuild damaged infrastructure before countries can welcome any tourists back, which was found to be the case following the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and the 2011 earthquake in Japan.
While the 2001 9/11 attacks were not covered by the WTTC's study, other recent research in collaboration with the USTA (US Travel Association) revealed that the US saw 2.4 million fewer international arrivals in 2009 than in 2000.
Britain saw a 36 per cent increase in long-haul travel worldwide, but a 15 per cent drop in travel to the US in the same time period.
The enforcement of stricter US immigration laws following the 9/11 attacks was also said to have contributed to the drop in visitors to the US. None of the countries examined in the latest WTTC study responded as strongly to the terrorist attack, in terms of immigration changes, as the US did.
Earlier this year, France was reported to be the world's most visited country, with 83.7 million visitors last year.