Islamist attacks, strikes and floods kept foreign tourists away from the French capital in the first half of the year and cost the Paris region tourism industry some 750 million euros in lost revenue. As Sonia Legg reports, tourism bosses say massive investment in the sector is needed.
It's not obvious that there are fewer visitors to Paris - except at the regional tourist board. It's seen revenue fall by 750 million euros in the first six months of the year. Islamist attacks, strikes and floods have kept people away from the world's most visited city, with foreign tourists down 11 per cent. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF ECONOMIST, WORLD FIRST, JEREMY COOK, SAYING: "It is not the lifeblood of the French economy but it makes up a significant factor. And also the tragic attack in Nice and maybe the militarisation of the police, people seeing more soldiers on the streets, has made people more wary." Half a million people have jobs linked to tourism in Paris and the surrounding region. It's the biggest industry, accounting for 13 percent of its GDP. Across France, also the world's most visited country, the sector represents 7 percent of the economy. For businesses reliant on tourism attacks like the one in Nice have been devastating. (SOUNDBITE) (French) OWNER OF PRIVATE BEACH "BLUE BEACH" AND PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERATION OF BEACH MANAGERS, RENE COLOMBAN, SAYING: "Just after the event there was a very, very strong decline. Since the beginning of August, it seems to be picking up - some foreigners tell us "we've come to support you." But we can't pretend it's going to be a great season." Global factors may also be contributing to the decline - including the slowdown in Asia and sanctions on Russia. The number of Chinese visitors to Paris was down by a fifth, Russians by a third and Japanese by almost a half. Tourist chiefs want government investment to safeguard jobs. That could make French leaders sweat, especially with a still too weak economy and presidential elections next year.