PARIS WOES: Paris’ governing body of tourism has sounded the alarm.
While transport strikes and demonstrations against France’s Socialist government’s proposed labor law are set to continue, the Regional Tourism Committee of Paris and its environs (or Le Comité Regional du Tourisme Paris Ile-de-France) in a statement Monday morning alerted the French government to the gravity of the situation that’s exacerbating already low visitor levels.
A near-term uptick of already low tourist numbers aren’t expected, according to the CRT Paris Ile-de-France. In the first quarter of this year, the level of Japanese tourists dropped 56 percent; Italians, 24 percent, and Russians, 35 percent. Meanwhile, the number of Chinese visitors decreased 13.9 percent, versus their 49 percent increase in full-year 2015.
The body stated that the social movements visible in central Paris, which were reported globally, “reinforce the feeling of fear and confusion of visitors in an environment that’s already anxiety-inducing, following the prolongation of the state of emergency,” the CRT Paris Ile-de-France stated.
In mid-May, the French parliament extended the country’s post-attacks state of emergency until the end of July in order to cover the Euro soccer tournament, which is set to take place in Paris and other French cities from June 10 to July 10, and the Tour de France cycling race, scheduled from July 2 to 24.
“There is still time to save the touristic season by breaking these deadlocks, which have been reported worldwide. Both the leisure and business tourism industries are impacted. At stake is employment, as the [tourism] sector employs 500,000 in the region,” Frédéric Valletoux, the CRT’s president, explained.
The body’s statement was released ahead of the afternoon kickoff at the Eiffel Tower of “Destination Paris” — a campaign meant to promote the city as a go-to spot — by French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Valérie Pécresse, president of the Paris region council.