WTM 2017: Ditched state of emergency in Paris ‘frightened’ tourists

WTM 2017: Ditched state of emergency in Paris ‘frightened’ tourists

France declared an end to the state of emergency after nearly two years because it was “frightening” tourists, it has been claimed.

Francois Navarro, managing director of the Paris region tourist board, revealed how Americans and Asians had stayed away from the country following the Paris terror attacks.

However, this year Paris tourism is enjoying a resurgence after a 15-month slump following the devastating events in 2015.

On November 1 Emmanuel Macron declared an end to the state of emergency which had presided over the country for almost two years.

To replace it he formally signed a sweeping counter-terrorism law, giving police the tools they need to fight violent extremism.

“We lost 1.5million visitors in 2016 after the Paris attacks,” said Navarro, who became the tourist board’s managing director in May this year.

“The state of emergency was frightening for Americans and Asians, in particular. There was confusion between a state of emergency and a state of war. There are 12 million people living in Paris and we are working every day to protect them and the tourists too.

“Even though we are not calling it a state of emergency we have kept the same laws.

“Everything which was available to the government before under the state of emergency is still available now.”

According to Navarro, this year French capital has fared much better and is enjoying a 10-year high in terms of tourism figures – a 10.2% increase year-on-year from 2016.

He added: “I think a lot of people now know that what happened in Paris and in London could have happened anywhere.

“That is sad certainly but now people are used to that. They want to travel and they do not want to be afraid.

“We have to reassure them and tell them that they will be safe. People want to discover other cities and want that way of life.”

Travel Weekly coverage of World Travel Market

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