Strikes, protests pose new headache for Paris tourism

Mon May 30, 2016 11:10pm EDT
 
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By Dominique Vidalon

PARIS (Reuters) - As Paris tourism struggles to overcome last November's Islamist attacks, the world's most visited city faces a new threat: a wave of protests and further planned strikes, tourism officials warned on Monday.

Labor unions have scheduled stoppages that threaten to disrupt transport for millions of visitors and fans hoping to follow the Euro 2016 soccer tournament from June 10 onwards, after weeks of violence-marred street protests against planned labor reforms.

"The scenes of guerrilla-type action in central Paris, beamed around the world, reinforce the feeling of fear and misunderstanding from visitors in an already angst-filled climate," Frederic Valletoux, head of the Paris region tourist board said in a statement on Monday.

"There is still time to save the tourist season by putting an end to these blockades that are being shown the world over."

Evelyne Maes, head of the UMIH-Paris-Ile de France hotel federation, told Reuters that bookings for June to August were down 20 to 50 percent from a year ago.

French trade association GNI said in a statement last week it feared "massive" booking cancellations by foreign tourists.

"A strike of that scope a few weeks before Euro 2016 and at the heart of the tourist season is more than unacceptable," it said.

The tourist board issued the warning a few hours before French authorities began a new campaign to bolster the appeal of the French capital to foreign visitors.   Continued...

 
Tourists stroll on the Trocadero square, in front of the Eiffel Tower during a rainy day in Paris, France, May 30, 2016.   REUTERS/Charles Platiau