It’s high summer in Paris, but the number of foreign visitors has dropped by 15 percent since the start of the season, with tourism authorities reporting at the very least six percent fewer Americans coming over to France this year in comparison to 2015. The same situation applies country wide, as outlined by local tourism officials.
Laurent Duc in the hotel owners’ union UMIH blamed the circumstance on security fears and labor unrest.
“When they watch what is happening in France on television Americans only realize that the land is broken. There are strikes within the airports, the streets are filled with trash, also because of strikes and naturally the terrorist attacks,” he said. “Therefore they [avoid] our country.”
Duc, who owns an hotel near to the city of Lyon, will not be alone in his worry about the strike security services in general and Americans in particular this season season. Normally around 3.2 million Americans visit France every year.
Airlines companies say 19.2 percent fewer flights were booked to France by American visitors during the last week of July.
At the end of the first quarter, there have been 35 % fewer American visitors than throughout the same period just last year, as outlined by Didier Chenet, president from the hotels, restaurants and bars union, GNI-Synhorcat.
“We have had 10 % less bookings in the Paris region just for this summer in comparison to just last year,” he added.
The Paris region particularly has become severely impacted by the drop in variety of American tourists. Even for the usually popular summer sales, relative few U.S. tourists made the trip.
“This year we had much fewer Americans in comparison to the other years,” said Sheherazad Beljnaoui, head of a women fashion store within the capital’s Le Marais neighborhood. “In general they like our clothes and they are numerous all year around nevertheless in particular throughout the sales. Not this season.”
The south east of France has also suffered a whole lot ever since the July 14 terror attack in Nice, which cost 84 lives on Bastille Day. The State Secretary of Tourism has not yet published official numbers, but the main agency that promotes tourism in the country, Atout France, confirmed a six percent drop in the number of American visitors in July compared to the same month last year.
“Europeans continue to be numerous, but tourists from the United states and Canada in addition to Japan and Brazil are generally under this past year,” said spokesman Philippe Maud’hui.
He said those visitors tend to spend more money money than French or European tourists do on hotels and restaurants.
The terror attack in Nice, and the killing of a priest near to the town of Rouen by two men linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) put into existing concerns about safety.
Back in May the State Department cautioned Americans about traveling to France, citing last year’s terrorist attacks. The advisory is valid until August 31.
France’s secretary of state for tourism, Matthias Fekl, mentioned that wealthy tourists from three regions in particular – the U.S., Asia and Gulf countries – “reacted strongly to str1ke attacks” and are staying away.
But tourism industry representatives say strikes are contributing to the general drop in foreign tourist numbers.
The country was just emerging from the effects of the November ISIS attacks in Paris when industrial actions erupted.
After France, the following most widely used place to go for American visitors is Britain. Some 3.01 million visited that country last year, tourism data show.
Next came Spain and Ireland, with 1.22 and 1.17 million respectively.
Britain, Spain and Ireland may benefit from France’s losses this coming year, although no official figures are yet accessible to show whether that might be the way it is.