FRENCH TOURISM INDUSTRY IN STEEP DECLINE AFTER PARIS ATTACKS

Justin N. Froyd - Feb 22, 2016
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Following the November attacks, French tourism numbers decreased substantially, especially regarding the amount of international visitors. Ile de France is the region most affected.

In the 4th quarter of 2015, the amounts of tourists coming to France went down, according to a study published recently by Insee. The drop is directly attributable to the Paris attacks and does not evenly affect the entire territory. While the 4th quarter began with an increase in visitors, in line with the previous three quarters, the events of November 13 have clearly put a stop to the trend.

In total, a 1.7% decrease in overnight stays was recorded in the last quarter of 2015. However, this figure hides a much stronger decline in room nights booked by foreign tourists, which is -8.4%. While the hotels were able to cope with the drop in occupancy of 5.4% of foreign visitors, other types of accommodation (holiday residences, holiday villages, etc.) had to face a drop of 20.4%.

The Russians and Japanese led the list of tourists who avoided France after the November attacks, according to the Regional Tourism Committee (CRT-IDF). Over November, the hotels in Ile-de-France reported a 5.4% drop in tourists. The attacks of 13 November especially scared off Russians (-37%) and Japanese (-30%). Next came Italians (-27%) and the Dutch (-24%). Chinese tourists on the other hand boosted French tourism in November by 40%.

Geographically, the decline in French tourism industry was uneven. Based on the data of the Insee study, it appears that reservations along the coast, and in rural or mountainous areas, have hardly been affected, especially with regards to hotels. The Paris area, on the other hand, was the most affected: -6.8% for hotels (including -9.8% for bookings from abroad) and -12.2% for other accommodation types (-36.7% regarding foreigners).

Over the quarter, the occupancy rate went from 55% to 53.5% compared to 2014. The decline in French tourism was mainly observable in December and the experts say that it will likely take several months to regain the confidence of tourists.

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