TRAVEL GAZETTE – Recent violent attacks on civilians in France have dealt a new blow to the country’s tourism that has yet to recover fully from the bloody assaults in Paris in January and November last year.
In the week following the July 14 attack in Nice, the country’s second most visited city after Paris, arrivals by air slumped 8.8 percent compared with the same period in 2015, the AFP cited a statistical agent as saying.
Meanwhile, hotel reservations in the Riviera region, where Nice is located, have dropped as much as 30 percent in the weeks after the Bastille Day attack that killed 84 people, according to the country’s economy ministry.
Tourism is one of the most important sectors for French economy, accounting for around 9 percent of the GDP. But the sector has been struggling for months since the deadly attacks in Paris last November that killed 130.
And the carnage on Nice’s famed seaside boulevard has hit the business particularly hard because the summer season — “the golden period” — was just getting into full swing. And moreover, France just hosted a successful Euro 2016 football championships and the feeling of insecurity has receded.
But the Nice attack wiped out all the positive effects. Cancellations jumped by 20 percent and were expected to rise further after last week’s killing of a priest near Rouen, located in lower Normandy.
The attacks have raised concerns that a new threat to stability is coming to stay. And that concern is not just confined in France.
A spate of terrorism attacks across Europe has already shaken people’s confidence in the safety and stability of the region.
In the first half of 2016, 19 countries that use the euro have seen the worst economic performance since the 2008 financial crisis. Tourism, which accounts for 10 percent of economic activity in European Union, has been considered as a glaring hope for the overall recovery.
But as terrorist assaults have come more frequent and widespread, visitors are not rethinking journey to Europe, which is bound to hurt the entire economy in the region.