The number of foreign tourists fell sharply in France in the second quarter of the year, official data showed Friday, during a period marked by street protests, strikes, poor weather, and after November’s terrorist attacks.
A rebound during summer is unlikely after a gunman drove into Bastille Day crowds in Nice, killing 85. Claimed by the Daesh (ISIL) group, the attack prompted a wave of holiday cancellations.
The number of nightly stays in France by foreign tourists fell by 8.5 percent in the three months to end-June compared to the same period a year ago, while figures for French tourists were down 2.9 percent.
The decline was a blow to tourism professionals after figures had started to recover in the first quarter following November’s attacks, when gunmen and suicide bombers in and around Paris killed 130.
Nightly stays in Paris hotels were particularly badly hit, with 12.9 percent fewer foreign tourists than a year ago, statistics office INSEE said. Rubbish piling up in Paris streets, riot police firing tear gas, cancelled trains and picket lines were also widely reported by world media in the lead up to the Euro 2016 football tournament in June, Reuters reported.
Bad weather may have deterred tourists from camping, INSEE said, with campsite stays down 6.8 percent.
France’s weather office said spring was one of the wettest in 50 years, with 70 percent more rain than normal in the Paris region. Tourism accounts for 7-8 percent of the economy for France, the world’s most visited country.