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TOURISM

Paris’ Louvre museum sees 70 percent fall in visitors due to Covid restrictions

The Louvre, the world's biggest museum, suffered a drop in visitor numbers of over 70 percent last year as Covid restrictions kept art lovers away, it said on Friday.

Paris' Louvre museum sees 70 percent fall in visitors due to Covid restrictions
The Louvre remains closed due to the pandemic. Photo: AFP

Receipts fell by more than €90 million compared with 2019.

The Louvre, which closed for six months during French coronavirus lockdowns and currently remains closed, saw visitor numbers plunge to 2.7 million in 2020, from 9.6 million in 2019 and 10.2 million in 2018, which was a record year.

Visits by foreigners, notably from the United States, China, Japan and Brazil, who usually make up three quarters of total visits, all but dried up, especially during the usually busy summer months.

The museum managed to limit the damage with its blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition that attracted 1.1 million visitors and ended before the first French lockdown in the spring.

The Louvre also used the downtime to boost its digital offering, with the number of online subscribers growing by over a million from 2019 to 9.3 million, and the louvre.fr website registering 21 million hits.

It also found new ways to raise cash, including with the worldwide distribution of the documentary “A Night at the Louvre: Leonardo da Vinci”, destined for movie theatres, and “Bid for the Louvre”, which it said had  raised 2.4 million euros through the auction of works by living artists and of “once-in-a-lifetime experiences”.

A livestreamed New Year concert by DJ and songwriter David Guetta, part of a fundraising drive, attracted 16 million views.

 

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TOURISM

Tourism minister: Book your French ski holiday now

France’s ski resorts will be open for business this winter, tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has promised - but no decision has yet been taken on whether a health pass will be required to use ski lifts.

Skiers at a French Alpine resort
Photo: Philippe Desmazes / AFP

“This winter, it’s open, the resorts are open,” Lemoyne told France 2’s 4 Vérités programme.

“Compared to last year, we have the vaccine,” he said, adding that he would “invite those who have not yet done so to [book], because … there will soon be no more room.”

And he promised an answer ‘in the next few days’ to the question of whether health passes would be required for winter holidaymakers to use ski lifts. “Discussions are underway with the professionals,” he said.

The stakes are high: the closure of ski lifts last winter cost manufacturers and ski shops nearly a billion euros. 

This year ski lifts will remain open, but a health pass may be necessary to access them. The health pass is already compulsory for après ski activities such as visits to bars, cafés and restaurants.

COMPARE The Covid rules in place at ski resorts around Europe

Many town halls and communities which depend on winter sports have found it difficult or impossible to make ends meet.

“It’s time for the French mountains to revive,” Lemoyne said, pointing to the fact that the government has provided “more than €6 billion” in aid to the sector.

Winter tourism professionals, however, have said that they are struggling to recruit for the winter season.

“Restaurant and bars are very affected,” by the recruitment crisis, one expert told Franceinfo, blaming a lack of urgency from authorities towards the winter holiday industry.

“We are all asking ourselves what we should do tomorrow to find full employment in the resort,” the expert added.

Post-Brexit visa and work permit rules mean that ski businesses have found it difficult to recruit Brits for short-term, seasonal positions.

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