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European Tourism - France: Paris launches drive to lure visitors as tourism plummets

Paris launched a major drive to attract tourists to the city on Monday following an alarming drop in visitor numbers after the November 2015 Paris attacks, compounded by a wave of protests and transport strikes.

Under grey skies at the Eiffel Tower in central Paris, Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced an advertising campaign, jointly funded by City Hall and the state, to lure visitors back to the City of Light.

“The objective is to reassure both visitors and professionals [in the city] about the security situation in Paris and to project a positive and enthusiastic message that makes Paris a desirable destination again,” they said in a shared statement.

For residents living in the city, life in Paris has mostly returned to normal since the November 13 terrorist attacks. But the number of visitors to the city, vital to its economy, has plummeted, and the effort to entice tourists back has been hampered by a recent wave of sometimes violent social unrest against proposed changes to France’s employment law.

Figures provided by the city’s tourist board show that the number of Japanese tourists was down 56% in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the previous year while 35% fewer Russian visitors came to Paris. The number of Chinese tourists, which reached a record 1.2 million in 2015, fell by 13.9%.

Accordng to an MKG Hospitality report in January, the November Paris attacks cost hotels in the French capital €270 million in lost revenue.

Read more: Paris launches drive to lure visitors as tourism plummets - France 24

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