Pinel said “everything will be done to find the perpetrators” and underscored “the determination of the French government to ensure the security of tourists in France.”
The minister's promise comes after China's National Tourism Administration, which reports directly to the government, had expressed concern after 23 tourists travelling in a group were robbed soon after they arrived at Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle airport outside Paris on Wednesday.
The tourists were on a 12-day trip across Europe but it all went awry when they stopped for dinner at Le Bourget, to the north of Paris in the Seine-Saint-Denis area. On leaving the restaurant they were attacked by three men.
Shoppers throng the Champs-Élysées in central Paris. Photo: Sacratomato/Flickr
“Their passports, plane tickets and cash were stolen and the group leader sustained an injury to the face,” the organisation said. According to the French daily Le Parisien the robbers made away with €7, 500 in cash.
The story made the front pages of many newspapers back in China. For Tang Lu from the Chinese Tourist Agency in Paris the incident was not just a one-off.
“For us Paris has replaced Rome in the table of cities where you have to pay the most attention,” Lu told Le Parisien. “We are hearing about these kind of attacks on Chinese visitors more and more.”
Chinese tourist guide Yang Shengu added: “Paris is a dangerous city. Of course my clients are scared.”
Avid consumers of luxury goods, the Chinese are known for spending a lot of money when travelling abroad and often carry big sums of money on them, making them prime targets for criminals.
More than one million Chinese tourists visit France every year.