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Ile-de-France: in spite of attacks, foreign arrivals rose by 3% in 2015

Interview with François Navarro, Executive Director of CRT Île-de-France

The attacks of November 2015 have hurt tourism in Île-de-France. It is the French and European markets that suffered the most important drops following these events. Meanwhile, other far-away clienteles have progressed. Overall, the CRT is projecting a 3% rise of international arrivals for the year.

Rédigé par Pierre CORONAS translated by Joséphine Foucher le Jeudi 14 Janvier 2016

Touristic arrivals of Île-de-France increased by 3% in 2015 - Photo : Syda
Touristic arrivals of Île-de-France increased by 3% in 2015 - Photo : Syda
Guadeloupe Inside - Now, with a few weeks of hindsight, what was the impact of the Paris and Saint-Denis attacks of November 13, 2015 on tourism in Ile-de-France?

François Navarro: “These dramatic events left major consequences on tourism in the region.

Subsequently, the rate of French visitors in Ile-de-France dropped by 7% in November 2015. Other markets were affected as well. As was the case for Russia with -37%, Japan with -30%, Italy with -27%, and Holland with -23% compared to November 2014.

However, we noticed that other, far-away, markets experienced a clear increase in November 2015. Such as China, for instance, that progressed by 40%. This is explained by the fact that many travelers had reserved their stays since a long time and did not want to cancel at the last minute.

The Middle East market is also improving by 16%, Australia by 7%, Belgium by 7%, and the United States by 3%.

We must also take into account that many tourists who were in Ile-de-France at the time of the November attacks chose to shorten their stays.” - Considering the changes presented above, can we conclude that the impact of the attacks on the visitor rate in Ile-de-France is less dramatic than what we feared?

F.N.: “No. The impact is still very major.

According to our monthly survey towards 500 hoteliers in Ile-de-France, more than 70% of tourism professionals of the region consider “important” the drop of their operations following the November 2015 attacks.”

de-France - Photo : ©C.Helsly
de-France - Photo : ©C.Helsly - What is your assessment of the year 2015 for Ile-de-France in terms of tourist numbers?

F.N.: “We still do not have data for December, but we believe that by the end of 2015, the number of international visitors should be at a 3% increase.

A growth that was unfortunately limited by the November attacks. But also by those of January 2015 against Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher.

After these first attacks, activity was slowed down and did not really pick up again until April 2015. Then, the summer 2015 was very good. Just like the months of September and October. November was hit by an abrupt halt.” - How is 2016 looking?

F.N.: “January will be very important since many trade-fairs have been scheduled in Paris and Ile-de-France at the end of the month.

Furthermore, we are relying a lot on February 2016, with the Chinese New Year, amongst other events. Thus, at the end of February 2016, we will assess if Chinese tourists have come to Ile-de-France. This will be a first indicator for the rest of the year.

But I am confident because we know that there is a true capacity of resilience. We notice that 55% of tourism professionals of the region are anticipating a recovery of their activities in the short and medium term.

And, the context is quite favorable this year with the organization of the Euro 2016, a very important event.” - Meaning that international tourists should show up this year…

F.N.: “Generally, we notice that after an attack like those that happened in London, Madrid, or Paris, recovery first begins on domestic markets.

Meaning that, first of all, we are going to focus our efforts on this segment before looking to reconquer European clients, and then more far-away tourists.

To do this, we must focus our promotion on the whole territory and highlight all of the touristic advantages of Ile-de-France and not only concentrate on Paris.

We are confident that all tourism professionals of Ile-de-France are united and share the same will.”

Île-de-France : malgré les attentats, les arrivées étrangères en hausse de 3 % en 2015

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