Paris hotels only one-third full due to terrorist attacks, says tourism minister

French capital worst hit as country struggles to attract tourists...

Paris hotels only one-third full due to terrorist attacks, says tourism minister

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

The tourism industry in France has been badly hit by recent security concerns, according to the French Minister of State for Foreign Trade and Tourism.

Hesitation from international visitors to holiday in France following the November 2015 Paris attacks that left 130 dead has only intensified since the attack in Nice which killed 85 last month.

In an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche, Matthias Fekl said that the number of nights booked by foreign visitors dropped 10% in the first six months of 2016.

The number of overnight stays in the month of July were also down 10% compared to the same period last year.

The situation doesn't look set to improve in the short-term, with travel data company ForwardKeys saying that international flight bookings down 20% for August and September.

Fekl noted the vast majority of those being deterred are high-spending visitors from the United States, Asia and the Gulf region, while European visitors – who account for roughly 80% of France's tourist trade – are still coming.

The impact on tourism has been most keenly felt in Paris and the surrounding areas, according to the Telegraph.

Hotels in the capital had an occupancy rate of just 32% for the second half of July, compared with 77% last year.

Meanwhile, hotels in Nice suffered a 45% drop in revenue for the two weeks after the July 14th attack.

Fekl is now spearheading a campaign to promote the country as a safe destination. Hotels and restaurants will also be permitted to postpone paying tax and loan repayments.

Jean-Pierre Nadir of the Easyvoyage travel website argued that terrorism was not the only reason for falling tourist numbers.

He said:

“Protests by taxi drivers and opponents of labour reforms, and strikes by rail workers and refuse collectors during the European football championships also tarnished the image of France."