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Finally! Tourists are flocking back to France

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Finally! Tourists are flocking back to France
Photo: AFP
08:41 CET+01:00
France's tourism industry rebounded in late 2016 after two tough years marked by a series of jihadists attacks, national statistics agency Insee said Tuesday.
The number of overnight stays rose 3.9 percent in the last three months of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015, reaching 56.3 million, Insee said.
   
"This strong rebound more than compensates for the marked drop recorded a year previously, linked to the impact of the attacks," the agency said.
   
Friday's suspected terror attack on a group of soldiers on patrol outside the Louvre museum could endanger that recovery.
   
Egyptian-born Abdallah El-Hamahmy, 29, lunged at a group of soldiers with two machetes, shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest). He was shot and seriously injured by one of the troops.
   
The assault outside the world's busiest museum revived fears of violence in France which suffered a string of attacks that killed 238 people between January 2015 and July 2016.
   
Insee said the number of overnight stays was higher in the last quarter of 2016 than in the last quarter of 2014 -- before the first attack, which targeted the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.
   
The turnaround was particularly noteworthy in luxury hotels, where overnight stays shot up 9.0 percent year-on-year, Insee said.
  
Regional towns and cities led the way, ahead of Paris, which is still recovering from the coordinated Islamic State strikes at venues across the capital on November 13, 2015.
  
Some 85 million foreign tourists visited France in 2015. The figures for 2016 have not yet been published.
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