Thursday 21 November 2019

Paris visitor numbers hit ten-year high as tourists defy terrorism

Ten-year tourism high in sight

The Eiffel Tower, Paris
The Eiffel Tower, Paris

Gavin Haines

Tourists are returning to the French capital in record numbers, despite fears over terrorism and a warning by Donald Trump that Paris was “out of control”.

Figures released this week by the Regional Tourism Authority (CRT) for the first half of 2017 suggest Paris and the surrounding  Île-de-France region are on course to hit a ten-year tourism high.

Hoteliers in the Paris region registered 16 million guests for the first half of this year – the highest number for the same period in the past decade – while visitors to the city and Île-de-France region rose by 14.6pc.

It’s a very different picture to last year when the French capital was reeling after the terrorist attacks of November 13, 2015, which claimed the lives of 130 people, including 89 revellers at the Bataclan Theatre.

The threat of terrorism in Paris prompted Donald Trump to describe the city as “so out of control, so dangerous”. Trump seemed to row back on those comments last month when he met the new French President, Emmanuel Macron, in Paris.

“You know what? It’s going to be just fine, because you have a great president. You have somebody that’s going to run this country right,” Trump told a reporter when asked about his past rhetoric.

Not that US holidaymakers seem to have paid much attention to their president in any case: figures suggest the sharpest rise in visitors came from the US, China and Japan, which were up 20pc, 29.5pcand 40.5pc respectively.

By contrast the number of British holidaymakers sojourning in Paris is reported to have dipped by 1.7 per cent, which officials attributed to anxiety about Brexit.

“The signals are clearly green for the tourism industry in Paris Ile-de-France”, said Frédéric Valletoux, President of the Regional Committee of Tourism Paris Ile-de-France.

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