How Paris has become one of the most dangerous places in the world ?

March 20, 2017
| Report Focus News

They will be worried that even more visitors will be scared off from booking Easter breaks in Paris.

| Report Focus News

However, they will be delighted that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed for heart-warming pictures at the Eiffel Tower before travelling to the Stade de France to watch Wales take on France in the Six Nations rugby match yesterday.

The message the royal couple sent to potential visitors hours after yet more violence on the streets was unmistakable – don’t give in to the terrorists and don’t be put off visiting one of the greatest countries on earth.

Paris has become one of the most dangerous capitals of the world. It won’t take long for France’s tourism chiefs to see if that powerful message got through as they constantly check the all-important visitor numbers to assess the cost of terror on the economy. A recent report said that terror attacks, strikes and floods cost the Paris region tourism industry £644 million in the first six months or so of last year.

As the region gets 13 per cent of its gross domestic product from tourism the huge losses are having an effect on people’s lives and lifestyles.

Last year an estimated 85 million people visited France, generating seven per cent of the country’s GDP, but the country needs millions more to boost a flagging economy.

Islamic State-inspired terror attacks against the Bataclan and cafes and bars in November 2015, which killed 130 people, were the worst atrocities suffered by France since the Second World War.

Then when a maniac drove a truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice in July last year, killing 86 people and injuring 434, there was a direct impact on tourism in the south of France.

Frederic Valletoux, head of the Paris region tourist board, spoke for many when he said recently: “It’s time to realise that the tourism sector is going through an industrial disaster. This is no longer the time for communication campaigns but to set up a relief plan.”

Before yesterday’s incidents there was a feeling that France had moved on from the bloodbaths and a modest economic recovery was on the way.

A medical gurney is wheeled into Orly airport after shooting incident near Paris

Even an incident at the Louvre art gallery in central Paris in February was not seen as having too much of an impact on the figures.

A man armed with a machete who attacked a soldier was shot five times but survived after attempting to storm the historic building.

Just a month earlier Jean-Luc Martinez, president of the Louvre, reported a loss of £8.6 million because visitor numbers had gone down by 15 per cent, about two million people, to 7.3 million.

Mr Martinez said then: “Everything is being done to deal with this. We already had a similar drop in 2001 after the September 11 attacks in New York when the number of visitors fell by 36 per cent.

Special police units take up position at Orly “After that, it took three years for us to recover our previous number of visitors.”

The number of visitors to Paris dropped overall by six per cent last year, due in part to the regularity of incidents in the capital and elsewhere in France.

Yesterday only one policewoman was injured, much to the relief of anxious Parisians, who have seen so many of their countrymen and women killed.