Paris pins hopes on Americans to boost tourism | Shanghai Daily

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August 27, 2009

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Paris pins hopes on Americans to boost tourism

PARIS is counting on American tourists - and a new law allowing more stores to open on Sundays - to boost tourism revenues pinched by the global financial downturn.

The French capital registered a 11.1 percent drop in foreign visitors in the first half of this year compared to the first half of 2008, according to figures released yesterday by the Paris Tourism Office.

The number of Americans in Paris - long the largest contingent of foreigners here - dived last year because of United States economic woes and the expensive euro. But it started to pick up again, by 1.1 percent, in the second quarter of this year, the tourism office said.

Paul Roll, director of the Paris Tourism Office, said the city is "counting on the Americans" to keep tourism revenues up and compensate for a plunge in visits by British, Japanese and Chinese tourists.

He noted that America's economy was hit early and hard by the financial crisis and is expected to emerge sooner, while other economies were slower to start their slump.

The weak British pound and troubles in Britain's economy have taken their toll on cross-Channel travel. British visitors fell 23.4 percent in the first half of this year.

Asians also stayed home. The number of Japanese visitors to Paris fell 25.4 percent and Chinese tourists fell 17.3 percent.

Overall, the number of visitors to Paris decreased 7.5 percent to 15.9 million in the first half of this year, the tourism office said.

Roll also pinned his hopes on a new law that allows more stores to open on Sundays, saying that could keep more tourists in Paris and France over a full weekend.




 

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