Paris – Tourist visits and revenues are up sharply in the Paris region, tourism authorities said on Tuesday as they released figures for the first half of 2017.
Hotel stays by foreign tourists rose 14.9 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to the Paris region tourism committee.
The figures show a clear rebound after a drop following the terrorist attacks that hit France in 2015 and 2016. The 7.6 million hotel stays by overseas visitors represent the highest figure since 2008.
Stays by French tourists were also up 6.4 per cent, at 8.9 million.
The total tourist spend in the region was estimated at 10.1 billion euros (11.9 billion dollars), up 10.5 per cent on the same period in 2016.
Full-year results for 2016, meanwhile, showed 30.9 million hotel stays and a total of 61.5 million overnights, down 4.7 per cent and 7.2 per cent respectively on the previous year.
Decrease in terrorist attacks
Foreign arrivals were the hardest hit, down 8.8 per cent.
Seventeen people were killed in Paris in the January 2015 attacks on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and on a kosher supermarket.
In November 2015, coordinated attacks on the city’s Bataclan theatre, nearby bars and restaurants and the Stade de France stadium, claimed by the Islamic State extremist group, killed 130 people.
In July 2016, 86 people died during Bastille Day festivities in Nice when an attacker drove a truck into the crowded beach-front Promenade des Anglais. Islamic State also claimed that attack.
Figures released by the tourism committee also showed a long-term shift in the countries of origin of tourists.
Tourist arrivals from China and the Middle East were up 225 per cent and 158 per cent respectively over 10 years, with Chinese visitors making up 4 per cent of all visitors to the region in 2016.
By contrast, arrivals from Japan were down 48 per cent and arrivals from Italy and Britain dropped 40 and 31 per cent respectively.
Tourist numbers from Britain continued their decline in the first half of 2017, down 15,000 on the same period last year.
Committee president Frederic Valletoux attributed that decline to “the uncertainty of Brexit” as Britain prepares to leave the EU.
Asked if he thought the election of France’s young President Emmanuel Macron was adding to the country’s attractiveness, Valletoux said it was too early to say.
But, he suggested, “France can show itself off better with Macron than the United States with Donald Trump.”
Disneyland Paris retained its crown as the region’s biggest tourist draw, with 13.4 million visits in 2016.
In Paris city, the cathedral of Notre Dame was the top attraction, visited by 12 million people, followed by the Sacre-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre, with 10 million visitors.
The committee said that the Louvre remained the most-visited European.