Paris sees decline in Chinese travelers
The weak euro has made Paris a popular destination with Chinese shoppers this year, even in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack that occurred last January. France was expected to receive over 2 million Chinese tourists this year, up from 1.7 million last year. However, the recent attacks, as well as Wednesday’s Saint-Denis raid, fake bomb threats against Air France flights, and an evacuation of Galeries Lafayette on a false alarm have deterred many Chinese travelers.
In the wake of the attacks, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) advised Chinese travel agencies to take extra caution with tour groups in France, and warned Chinese tourists to avoid the places where the attacks occurred and large public gatherings. Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy in Paris, like many other foreign embassies, issued a security alert calling on Chinese nationals to stay indoors as an estimated 1,300 Chinese tourists were present in Paris on the Saturday after the attacks occurred. Travel agencies in China have also provided emergency contingency plans, providing full refunds for Chinese tourists who wish to cancel already-booked trips. Ctrip called all tourists with tours booked for Paris before November 21, suggesting they cancel or change their tours.
Travel agencies, hotels, and airlines are reporting decreased demand to travel to Paris from Chinese travelers. Representatives from several travel agencies noted that clients are changing their plans to go to Paris in a recent Global Times article, while Reuters reported that Ctrip saw many Chinese tourists in Paris divert their trip to Switzerland after the attacks. By November 14, Ctrip had offered a full refund to over 200 tourists.