Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Paris, France lost 1.5 million tourists and $1 billion in revenue in 2016 due to Islamic terror fears-AFP

2/21/17, "Paris visitor numbers hit in 2016 after attacks," AFP, Katia Dolmadjian, Paris

"Paris saw a drop of 1.5 million tourists in 2016 as fears linked to terror attacks scared off visitors, especially from China and Japan, figures showed Tuesday. 

However, tourist numbers picked up towards the end of the year, suggesting the slump could be easing, regional tourism authority CRT said. 

The number of international visitors to the French capital fell almost nine percent in 2016, with numbers from Japan plummeting more than 40 percent and Chinese visitors down by more than 20 percent. 

Tourism from European countries was also hit with visitors from Italy and Russia declining by around a quarter despite the city hosting several matches of the Euro 2016 football championships, including the final.

The visitor figures are based on hotel arrivals. 

Major tourist attractions such as the Louvre museum, the Musee d'Orsay and Disneyland Paris saw visits drop between nine and 13 percent.

Visitors from the United States seemed however to be less affected by security concerns with a drop of just under five percent compared with 2015, representing around 100,000 visitors. 

The shortfall cost Paris about 1.3 billion euros ($1 billion), the CRT said. 

The body's president Frederic Valletoux said however that an uplift in bookings in November and December "makes us think that things could improve in 2017, even if they are rather weak signs at the moment". 

In November 2015, 130 people were killed in Paris when gunmen and suicide bombers from the Islamic State jihadist group attacked bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the Stade de France national stadium.

That attack came 10 months after two jihadist gunmen shot dead cartoonists and journalists at the Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. 

Earlier this month (Feb.), a soldier shot and wounded a machete-wielding Egyptian man who lunged at him outside the Louvre in Paris while shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God [Allah] Is Greatest).

Officials said the attacks had not been the only factor in discouraging visitors to Paris.
Valletoux said aside from the "exceptional security context", tourists were also put off by a wave of strikes and protests against the Socialist government's labour market reforms and heavy flooding that hit Paris and surrounding areas in May and June.

Valletoux said despite the global growth of room-sharing services such as Airbnb, their effect on hotel stays had been "marginal".

Figures revealed this month showed that despite fears linked to attacks, the nation as a whole retained its position as the world's number one tourist destination last year with between 82.5 million and 83 million foreign visitors."


Added: Also in France in 2016, Islamic mass murder on the Riviera: terror truck on French Riviera had bulletproof glass. French terror 'alert' consisted of police having hand guns:

7/15/16, "Nice (France) terror truck had bullet-resistant windshield," Debka File Exclusive (now req. subscription)

"At least 84 people were killed when a huge truck drove into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera town of Nice on the famous Promenade des Anglais seafront Thursday night in a horrific Islamist terror attack. Hundreds more were injured.

From the initial investigation of attack in the French resort city of Nice, it is clear that the large truck used to run down dozens of people on the promenade was carefully prepared for the attack, debkafile's counterterrorism sources report.
Terror truck window

The windshield and apparently the side windows of the cab were made of bulletproof glass. In other words, the driver carried out the attack while sitting in the protected cab that he had built for himself. It was the first time for this method to be used by terrorists.

Damage to the windshield showed that some, if not all, of the bullets fired at the cab did not penetrate it. The fact that the windshield was not broken, and the bullets left round holes without cracks, show that the windshield had been replaced with bulletproof glass or a layer of bullet-resistant protective plastic. 

Our sources point out that if the police in Nice, who have already been on a terror alert for an entire year, had been properly prepared for the large-scale event on a national holiday, they would have had more powerful and effective weapons that would have hit the terrorist
as he sat in the driver's seat, or at least been able to stop the truck by puncturing its tires.

Fire from the kind of handguns used by the Nice police cannot stop a speeding truck of this kind.

As it was, the terrorist lived to jump out and open fire on the crowds before being gunned down himself.

DEBKAfike earlier described the event.

At least 84 people were killed when a huge truck drove into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera town of Nice on the famous Promenade des Anglais seafront Thursday night in a horrific Islamist terror attack.  Hundreds more were injured. Before he was shot dead by police, the driver opened fire on the throng.

People were advised to stay home and keep their cars off the roads in case of armed men out on the town. Police gunfire was an attempt to stop the huge truck, which continued to plough at a speed of 70kph  into the crowds of families and tourists watching a fireworks display. Guns and hand grenades were later found stowed in the truck. Police say the driver was 31 and of Tunisian origin.

This appears to be the deadliest terrorist attack in France since the Paris outrage last year. President Francois Hollande extended the national state of emergency that was due to expire next week by another three months and recalled police reservists to duty across France." image from Debka File


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