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Louvre attack chills tourism in Paris

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Visits to France had already fallen after assaults
Tourists continue to line up for the world’s most famous art gallery The Louvre in Paris, encouraged by a substantial security presence, but many are wary. On Friday, a man attacked soldiers there with a machete before being shot and detained.
Outside the Louvre later on Friday, bus driver Massimo Grassi waited for his group of 45 Chinese tourists, delayed, throwing a planned afternoon shopping trip into question. The foiled attack is another setback for business.
“It’s no good, because now clients are afraid, and when you want to take them shopping they’re not in the mood,” he said. “France has lost many tourists, and we have lost a lot of work.”
The Louvre, home of the Mona Lisa, is the most visited museum in the western world. But visits to France had already fallen following a number of assaults by radical Islamists since January 2015.
Attendance at the gallery fell 7.5% in 2015 and a further 15% in 2016. Floods from the River Seine during last year’s tourism season also impacted attendance.
Upmarket department stores that rely on tourists also suffered last summer, but business has rebounded to achieve excellent sales over Christmas. Now the fear may return, driving tourists to other destinations.
However, tourists in Paris interviewed by the BBC said they were “not worried” and that the heightened security had reassured them after Friday’s attack.
The Wall Street Journal / BBC

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