Tourism in Paris has recently been threatened by the worldwide spread of images showing aggressive visitors, including Japanese and Chinese. If Parisian hotel activity does not seem to be suffering, for the moment, the negative publicity created by recent events, the concern over the increasing insecurity of tourists in the capital is gaining the entire sector.
The safety of tourists in Paris has had bad press lately, tarnishing the image of the city and becoming an additional source of concern for professionals. After the recent visitor attacks written about in both French and foreign newspapers, the distribution of the video of Asian tourists looted during the chaotic celebration of the PSG victory has only strengthened the insecurity. The magnitude is pushing tourism professionals to publicly express their despair. After the guards went on strike at the Louvre, infuriated by the pickpockets, the Colbert Committee, which brings together 75 French luxury houses, including several palaces, which expressed fears that "Paris is gaining a reputation of absolute insecurity. We really must raise awareness (...) as foreign tourism is a boon to our city and this insecurity is a direct attack against employment. We have gone on all networks and houses (the Committee) on whether they perceive the city of Paris as a city that is not at all sure," said the General Delegate of the Committee.
Given this climate of insecurity and the negative publicity it generates for the capital, Hospitality-On asked hoteliers to express their feelings about the situation via a survey with Olakala. The survey results highlight the concern that is gaining industry professionals, with 86% of respondents believing that the image of Paris as a tourist destination is now threatened. If no negative fallout was recorded on the activity of the sector for the moment, hoteliers living with the painful memory of the riots in the suburbs. "The 2005 riots had an impact on the activity of hoteliers, causing several cancellations of reservations, and it should not happen again today. Currently, we do not see a negative effect significant recent events on our business, but it should not be that kind of images do too often around the world," warns Bertrand Lecourt, President Umih 75.
Each tourist complaint is another concern for the Parisian prefecture, including among others the development of a list of hotels around which vigilance is necessary, strengthening prevention devices in public transport and the introduction of simplified procedures for filing complaints, including Japanese and Chinese tourists who are more prone to violence. "The places affected by the strengthening of security are very touristy, especially those frequented by the Chinese because they are the main target of offenders for the distinction of carrying large sums of cash on them," explains Bertrand Lecourt. The Parisian hoteliers welcome the new measures implemented by the prefecture while stressing however they are still insufficient to ensure the safety of tourists in the capital.
The survey also reveals that 84% of those surveyed observed an increase in insecurity in the city of Paris in recent years. A sentiment echoed by Bertrand Lecourt: "shows that hoteliers have a general impression of increased insecurity in the capital. The latest figures I have seen, however, show the opposite trend, but in reality it is very difficult to quantify when you know for example that all tourists do not complain after an assault".
Photo : © Michel Hasson (http://www.phototheque.net)
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