In Defiance Of Terrorists, More Tourists Head To Paris In 2017
Tourism to Paris seems to be on the mend after a spate of terrorist attacks. Travel experts estimate that the total number of visitors to the "City of Lights" in 2017 will be 89 million. That's quite an astonishing rebound considering only 14.5 million foreigners decided to visit Paris in 2016.
Of course, the main reason people stopped visiting the French capital had to do with the horrific string of jihadist attacks. At the start of 2015, radical Islamists killed twelve cartoonists working at Charlie Hebdo. In November of the same year, ISIS suicide bombers targeted cafés, the Bataclan theatre, and the Stade de France. 130 people were killed and another 368 were injured in these attacks, the worst on French soil since World War II.
Staff working at popular tourist sites like the Moulin Rouge called 2016 the "black year" for tourism. Not only was Paris still reeling from the shock of these attacks, it also suffered flooding rain and violent political protests. Then, in July of 2016, there was yet another bloody terrorist attack in the southern city of Nice. This attack, in which the Tunisian driver rammed a truck into pedestrians, killed 86 people and wounded 458 others.
One reason tourism experts believe people are returning to Paris has to do with the normalization of terrorism. Josette Sicsic, who runs the tourism tracking firm Touriscopie, said people recognize that "world has changed" and that they have to be "vigilant" when traveling to places like France. Sicsic noted, however, that tourists don't want the terrorists to dictate their travel behaviors.
Also, most Western tourists nowadays recognize that they aren't even safe in their own nations. With Islamic extremists attacking major cities like Manchester, London, Berlin, Brussels, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, and Orlando, travelers figure Paris is just as safe as any other major city in the West.
Alexa Derby, and American tourist in Paris, told reporters she felt "pretty safe" walking around the touristy areas of the city. While she admitted that terrorism was "definitely on [her] mind," she said that hiding away would only give the terrorists what they want.
The two main groups expected to bump up the Paris tourism industry are Americans and Chinese. This is quite interesting considering that Paris has had a serious problem with Arab and African migrants mugging Chinese people ever since 2013.
One group of people the Paris tourism industry won't be getting a helping hand from is the British. The main reason U.K. residents aren't visiting Paris, however, doesn't really have much to do with terrorism. Ever since the Brexit vote in 2016, the purchasing power of the British Pound Sterling has dropped significantly in value.
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