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Crisis-stricken foreign tourists turn their back on France

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-04-25

Cash-strapped US, British and Chinese nationals are staying put and giving up on holidays in la Belle France. Tourist operators are bracing for a tough year ahead.

France’s tourism industry is suffering from the fallout of the financial crisis. Foreign visitors were down 20% from last year in February, and a steeper fall is expected in March.

 

Crisis-stricken British, US and Chinese – and even Russian – tourists are few and far between in the streets of Paris and in the French Riviera this year, France’s national statistics office said on Friday.

 

The total number of nights spent in hotels slipped 10.7% in February compared to a year earlier, counting both French and Foreign tourists.

 

“It’s the steepest decline since the beginning of the crisis in 2008. Early results say the fall will be sharper in March,” said Brigitte Doguet, the author of the report.

 

The crisis is expected to dampen France’s tourism ambitions these coming years. In 2008, Luc Chatel, then tourism minister, had set a growth target of 2.8% per year until 2015. It was hoped France, the world's premier tourist destination, would attract some 100,000,000 visitors in 2015.
 

Date created : 2009-04-25

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