PARIS (Reuters) - Tourists flocked back to Paris last year as safety concerns following a spate of attacks by Islamist militants appeared to ease, making 2017 the city’s best year for foreign visitors in at least a decade.
Hotel bookings in Paris and the wider Ile de France region rose to 33.8 million, the local tourist federation said. There were big rises in numbers of Japanese, German and U.S. visitors.
The total fell to 30.9 million in 2016 from 32.4 million in 2015, a drop largely viewed as a reaction to the attacks, including a coordinated series in the capital in November 2015 in which Islamist gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people.
The 2017 tally rose 9.9 percent to 15,9 million in inner Paris, and 9.5 percent in Ile de France, which includes the Chateau de Versailles.
“The tourism industry has shown how resilient it is after the attacks, strikes and bad weather incidents that took a toll in 2015 and 2016,” said Eric Jeunemaitre, President of the CRT tourism body, adding that the trend was expected to continue in 2018.
Top of the most-visited list were the Louvre museum with 8.1 million visits, followed by the Chateau de Versailles at 7.7 million and, in third place, the Eiffel Tower, at 6.2 million.
Japanese visitors returned in droves, with hotel bookings in the entire Ile de France region up 32 percent in 2017, the CRT said.
One notably lower rise was that of British tourists which, while still the second largest national group, rose just 2.4 percent, which the tourism body attributed to a dip in spending power after the country’s decision to leave the European Union.
Reporting By Brian Love; Editing by Leigh Thomas and John Stonestreet