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Security fears blight Paris tourism a month after attacks

Joël Saget, AFP | With more than 30 million annual visitors, Paris is the world's most visited city.

France’s worst-ever terrorist attacks have cast a pall over the capital city’s crucial tourism industry and dampened the Christmas cheer.


The build-up to the Christmas holiday is normally the busiest time of the year for Paris transport hubs, hotels and luxury boutiques.

But a month after terrorists killed 130 people in coordinated attacks on the city’s night spots, the dearth of visitors is a sign that the French capital is still a long way from returning to normality.

The full impact of the Nov. 13 attacks will become clearer with fourth-quarter results, but there is already evidence of a significant hit to the tourism industry.

Hotel revenues in Paris are down 30-40 percent from last year's levels, restaurant revenues have fallen by a similar margin while new flight bookings to Paris fell by 27 percent in the week following the attacks.

The situation would have been even worse without the COP21 climate summit, which brought tens of thousands of delegates and visitors to the French capital in the first two weeks of December.

The world’s premier tourist destination is not the only one being dragged down. Analysts say Europe's entire travel industry could lose over a billion dollars in revenue as a result of fears of more terrorist attacks.

In a bid to reassure visitors, several French companies and organisations – including L’Oréal, Air France and the Chateau de Versailles – have launched an online campaign under the #ParisWeLoveYou hash tag.

“It is the very image of Paris that is at stake,” said Philippe Houzé, head of the popular Galeries Lafayette department stores, which have been particularly hard hit by the terror scare.

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