If you didn’t already know, France is (or rather was) the most visited country in the world with 85+ million tourists visiting here last year. Tourism generates more than 7% of the gross domestic product and over 13% of that total comes from the Paris region alone. This year however, Britons and other foreign tourists (mostly Chinese, and Japanese) have stayed away from Paris obviously due to the terrorist attacks that happened in Paris in November 2015, Bastille Day this year and other smaller yet shocking incidents. The constant strikes and floods didn’t help either—costing the Paris region tourism industry some €750m.
And this summer, things haven’t got any better. August 15th, usually one of the biggest weekends for tourism in France, has been especially quiet as hotel owners, museum managers and restaurant workers all testify the impact the terror attacks have had on reducing people’s appetite for coming to France. The figures say it all:
The fall in the number of foreign visitors to Paris since the start of 2016 according to stats from the Tourism Office in Paris.
The drop in the number of flights booked to France by American visitors in the last week of July.
The drop in the number of hotel reservations in Paris in the first six months of 2016 compared to 2015.
But the doom and gloom of these statistics is not evident on the streets or in the hearts of Parisians. If you live in or are simply visiting the city, you’ll see Parisians are living their lives like they always have avec la liberté which is as strong as ever. Life goes on. Proof of this is the fact that even the Bataclan, the famous Paris music venue in the popular 11th arrondissement (where 90 people were killed in November’s terrorist attacks), will reopen this autumn.
Even now with la rentrée’ (the return/ back to school as vacation is over) Paris is full of energy and overly bronzed faces who are slowly easing back into their daily routines. So if you’re thinking of coming to Paris this Fall, come. We need the energy and enthusiasm of New York tourists. You’ll see it’s still the same old beautiful Paris that just like after 9/11 NYC attacks, refuses to stop living. Because life must go on.