The horrifying terrorist attacks in Paris earlier this month have put a damper on the city’s image.
A three-day series of terrorist attacks brought bloodshed to the French capital, leaving 17 dead. Since then, Paris has been on high security alert as armed troops are deployed across the city, protecting some of its more famous attractions.
France’s display of force, along with violent protests which have swept the Muslim world, could significantly impact tourism in Europe’s most visited city. Tourism is the world’s largest industry, and a very critical part of France’s economy.
According to GulfTimes, Ile-de-France — France’s wealthiest region which includes the city of Paris — has 550,000 jobs which rely on tourism. Tourism is the largest industry in the region, and Paris alone had 47 million visitors in 2014, half of whom came from foreign countries.
Reuters reports that MKG Group, a hospitality research firm, found Paris saw a 10% drop in hotel occupancy on year-to-year comparisons between the dates of January 8th and 18th in wake of the attacks and anti-France protests. These occupancy rates continue to fall.
This could be an enormous problem for France, which has had a difficult time kick-starting a sluggish economy.
Le Comité Régional du Tourisme Paris Ile-de-France, Paris’ regional tourism committee, is sending out advisories that the monuments, museums, malls, and other attractions in Paris are protected, GulfTimes reports. The committee’s managing director, Francois Navarro, said that the committee will embark on a world tour to reassure tourists and travel agents that Paris is safe and open for business.
Like the Paris committee, the European tourism industry is also working on ways to protect and strengthen its tourism market. According to GulfTimes, European airlines, hotels, tourists boards, and tourist attractions are working collectively to come up with marketing strategies in hopes of persisting through a potentially difficult period for the industry.
It is still too early to determine how much the terrorist attacks will affect Europe’s yearly tourism rates, but if high-security images in Paris and anti-French protests continue to persist, chances are the industry will suffer a tough blow.