Southern Europe is enjoying a tourism boon as France and Turkey are struggling to attract foreign visitors in the wake of terrorist attacks.
France has been rocked by multiple terrorist attacks in the last 12 months, most notably the Nov. 13, 2015, attacks by ISIS militants in Paris, which claimed the lives of 130 people, and an ISIS-inspired terrorist who mowed down 84 people with a truck in Nice on Bastille Day. In Turkey, the international airport in Istanbul, the country’s largest city, was attacked by three suicide bombers in June that killed 42 people; the NATO member country was then rocked by a failed coup attempt in July.
As a result of their troubles, tourism is down in France and Turkey. Bookings have slumped by close to 20 and 52 percent, respectively, between September and December, compared to 2015. The woes of the two terror-struck nations are the gains of Portugal, Spain, and Italy — they’re all seeing a rise in tourism.
BBC News reports that from January to July of 2016, there was almost 20 percent more flight availability for United Kingdom-based tourists hoping to get to Spain, which undoubtedly seems linked to the comparable loss of French tourism. Germany and Portugal are also enjoying a boost, to the tune of 12 percent. It does not help the French either that in the aftermath of the Nice attack, their neighboring countries clamped down on border controls, with Spain and Italy both ramping up security.
Explaining his country’s decision to keep a watchful eye on the actions of its neighbor, Italian Minister of the Interior Angelino Alfano explained, according to the Wall Street Journal, “We’re a country that belongs to the free world. Such belonging makes us natural targets.”
The French tourism industry has lost almost $1 billion; Paris has lost one million visitors. The French economy is highly reliant on tourism, with 7 percent of the country’s GDP coming from that one industry.
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