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Paris is safe: French PM urges tourists to come

The Local · 1 Dec 2015, 11:40

Published: 01 Dec 2015 11:40 GMT+01:00

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France's PM Manuel Valls urged tourists to come to Paris, spend money and enjoy the capital's cultural attractions to help
boost the city in the wake of deadly jihadist attacks.

"Come to Paris, security conditions are assured," Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on French radio, in what he described as a "message to all those tourists who cancelled their trip to Paris in recent days".

"Consume, it's a festive time, spend, live, go back to shows, to the cinema and theatre," he added on Europe 1 radio.

An estimate for the economic impact of the November 13 jihadist attacks on Paris nightspots, including the Bataclan concert hall, restaurants and cafes, has yet to be made.

An initial evaluation by a government treasury body in the economy ministry has said the attacks could lead to a 0.1-point drop in gross domestic product in the coming months, amounting to €2 billion ($2.12 billion).

Hotels and eateries, especially in Paris, have complained of a marked fall in customers after the attacks and voiced concern over the impact for their traditionally busy Christmas and New Year periods.

A hotel near the Gare du Nord station has seen "a definite decline" in occupancy, with a staff member telling The Local that cancellations have been flowing in for four days now.

"People are frightened and don't want to come to Paris right now. We understand that."

Cafes and restaurants have seen an around 40-percent drop in footfall compared to the same period in 2014, according to the UMIH hotel union.

Tourism chiefs have already urged visitors not to turn their backs with Francois Navarro, head of the Paris Regional Tourist board telling The Local that he understands people's fears but that they shouldn't be turned off.

“It’s normal people are scared. The images went around the world,” Navarro said. 

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“We need to get the message out that the places frequented by tourists in Paris, whether it’s the museums, the monuments or the shops, are safe."

“The reason Paris is the number one destination in the world is because people love the life in Paris, the neighbourhoods, the cafés, and that life will go on."

Governments have been updating their travel advice for their citizens visiting France.

Britain’s Foreign Office immediately updated its website after the attacks, warning its citizens visiting Paris “to be vigilant in public places and follow the advice of the local authorities”.

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