Ailing Paris tourism industry calls for rescue plan

French official calls falling revenue due to terrorism "an industrial disaster"

rainfall, river, seine, paris, europe, central

View of the flooded banks of the river Seine in front of the Eiffel tower in Paris. Image: Christophe Ena / AP/Press Association Images

Senior figures in the French tourism sector have said action must be taken to help the beleaguered Paris business, which has suffered badly following the terrorist attacks that struck the country.

Commenting earlier this week, head of the Paris tourist board Frédéric Valletoux stated earlier this week:

"It's time to realise that the tourism sector is going through an industrial disaster."

He has called on French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to meet officials from the sector, saying that it is "no longer the time for communication campaigns but to set up a relief plan."

For his part, Ayrault has pledged to add €500,000 to the €1 million budget the government was already contributing to a global €2.5m plan to promote France as a tourist destination.

Echoing Valletoux's comments, Georges Panayotis of hotel research firm KKG told Reuters:

"Hotels are already laying off staff though they're not saying it. This industry is on its knees and needs relief measures now. Hoteliers need the weapons to fight back."

Fears over safety have officially cost the French capital roughly €750m thus far.

Despite the boost provided by Euro 2016, strikes and floods haven't helped matters.

The tourist board has reported that visitors to the Arc de Triomphe fell more than a third in the first half of 2016 when compared with the same period last year. The Grand Palais museum dropped 43.9%, while the Palace of versailles has had nearly one-fifth fewer visitors.

Panayotis revealed that Parisian hotel revenues were down 15% this summer, with high-end business taking a particular hot, as luxury hotels report a decrease of between 30-40%.

He is hoping for targeted VAT cuts and other tax breaks.

Speaking to Reuters, head of the UMIH-Paris-Ile-de-Frankce hotel federation Christian Navet said:

"The Nice attack derailed our hopes of a recovery. It's a dramatic situation and there will be job cuts in the sector if things do not get better by the end of the year."