Friday 15 December 2017

Terror attacks and strikes cost Paris €750m

French police patrol as tourists gather at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Photo: Pascal Rossignol. Photo: Reuters
French police patrol as tourists gather at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Photo: Pascal Rossignol. Photo: Reuters

Madeleine Alaxandre

Islamist attacks, strikes and floods kept foreign tourists away from the French capital in the first half of the year and cost the Paris region tourism industry some €750m in lost revenue.

"It's time to realise that the tourism sector is going through an industrial disaster. This is no longer the time for communication campaigns but to set up a relief plan," Frederic Valletoux, head of the Paris region tourist board, said.

Mr Valletoux said massive investments were needed to protect jobs in the sector and he urged Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to quickly meet with local tourism officials.

About 500,000 people in Ile-de-France have jobs linked to tourism, making it the biggest industry in the region.

France, which is seeking to revive its economy, depends heavily on tourism, which generates over 7pc of national gross domestic product and over 13pc of that of the Ile-de-France region, which includes Paris, the world's most visited city.

France's tourism industry has suffered since Isil gunmen killed 130 people in an attack in Paris last year. It was dealt a further blow in July, when a gunman drove a truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on July 14 in the Riviera city of Nice. Two weeks later, two men killed a priest in a small town in Normandy. Strikes against a controversial labour reform and floods in June also deterred tourists.

Below: The Louvre museum. Photo: AFP/Getty
Below: The Louvre museum. Photo: AFP/Getty

Nightly hotel stays were down 8.5pc in the Paris-Ile de-France region in the first half, with an 11.5pc decline for foreign tourists and a 4.8pc drop for French tourists.

Japanese visitors were down 46.2pc in the first half compared with the same period in 2015, while Russians were down 35pc, Chinese down 19.6pc, and Americans down 5.7pc, the Paris region tourist board statement said.

France is the most-visited country in the world, with almost 85 million foreigners last year, including 16 million in Paris.

Air France-KLM has said it expects its unit revenues to decline in July and August, partly due to the situation in the country.

Irish Independent

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