France to spend big in effort to win back scared tourists

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 7 Nov, 2016 Updated Mon 7 Nov 2016 17:14 CEST
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With the anniversary of the shattering Paris terror attacks approaching France will splash the cash to boost security around tourism in the hope it will encourage visitors to return.


On Monday the French PM was set to announce a raft of measures that will be aimed at bringing tourists back to France.

France’s tourism industry, so important to the country’s economy, is still suffering the impact of last year’s terror attacks in Paris and this summer’s carnage in Nice.

Under pressure from tourist industry leaders the government has realized it must act as the number of foreigners visitors to Paris has fallen by eight percent since the start of the year, meaning an estimated loss of €1 billion.

On Monday evening government ministers will meet to discuss tourism for the first time in 13 years.

According to Le Figaro newspaper the government is prepared to spend some €42 million on measures to woo visitors back.

Not surprisingly, top of their agenda is security and around €15 million will be dedicated to making visitors feel safer.

Among the measures include a plan to roll out more video surveillance or CCTV in sensitive areas where tourists have been targeted, notably hotels on the edge of Paris.

The government also plans “mobile police stations” in tourist hot spots to help tourists report crimes and around 30 sites, including museums, will see security boosted.

The government knows it is not just the terrorists whose acts of murder have dissuaded many tourists from coming, it is also the thieves who have targeted visitors particularly from the Far East. The number of Japanese visiting France has dropped by 39 percent and Chinese visitors are 23 percent down.

The high profile robbery of US star Kim Kardashian did not help the country's reputation.

Since the Paris attacks France has also been officially in a “state of emergency”, a term that many in the industry believe scares visitors off.

Didier Chenet, the president of an independent group of tourism operators said boosting security was a positive step but said it was vital the government “removed the term ‘state of emergency’ that has driven tourists away.”

But it’s not just security that the French government will spend money on.

Authorities will also make it easier to arrive in the country by cutting the queues at passport control through the instillation of around 10 new automatic passport gates, at Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports.

On Monday Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo also revealed how she plans to make sure Paris retains its title of the most visited city in the world.




The Local 2016/11/07 17:14

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