Paris bounces back as visitor numbers hit record high

AFP PHOTO / ludovic MARIN

 

“Tourism in Paris has rebounded with spectacular fashion,” say the French capital’s tourism chiefs who were celebrating a record number of visitors to the City of Light after a steep drop caused by the spate of terror attacks.

After two years during which Paris was scarred by terror attacks, tourists returned to the French capital in record numbers in 2017, hotel booking figures showed Thursday.

Hotels in the Paris area received 2.9 million more foreign and French visitors compared to 2016, an increase of 9.5 percent that added 1.6 billion
euros ($2 billion) to the sector’s coffers, the tourism committee for the Paris region said.

“Tourism rebounded in spectacular fashion,” the committee said in its annual report.

The recovery was particularly significant among overseas visitors, whose numbers rose 13.7 percent over the year, compared to 5.9 percent for French tourists.

Chinese, Japanese, American and German tourists all returned in large numbers to the City of Light, showing the effects of the attacks of November 2015 had largely worn off, the committee said.

The US continues to account for the largest share of foreign tourists in Paris, with 2.4 million visitors, ahead of China’s 1.1 million.

 

In August 2016 The Local reported how wealthy foreign visitors, particularly Americans were deserting France after the spate of terror attacks.

While last year was relatively peaceful there were still terror scares in three of Paris’s most famous tourist spots: the Champs Elysées, the Louvre museum and Notre Dame Cathedral.

Each incident targeted France’s police forces or military but nevertheless ended up with tourists running for cover or locked inside the famous monuments for their own protection.

But tourists are a resilient bunch and despite the images being broadcast across the world they were not put off.

“The question is: ‘Are you going to hide under your bed until [the terrorist attacks] stop or go on living your life?'” was how one visitor to Paris put it.

In February last year Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo revealed plans of how she wants to maintain her city’s title of the most visited place on earth.

Her plans included a revamped Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysées, better lighting, more young guides for visitors and better and more translations for visitors.

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