Protests over teen killing affected tourism in France, figures show

Protests over teen killing affected tourism in France, figures show

Hotel owners, directors suffer losses due to last week’s protests

Umit Donmez

PARIS (AA) - Protests that shook France because of the killing of a teen by police last week have affected tourism during the height of the summer travel season.

Thousands took to the streets on June 27 when a police officer shot dead Nahel M. during a traffic check in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre after he allegedly ignored orders to stop.

Vehicles and public buildings, including town halls and schools, were set on fire, and police arrested 4,000 people, mostly teenagers, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told the Senate on Wednesday.

The Paris Tourism Office told Anadolu that aerial reservations for Paris were down due to the urban violence in the capital.

Plane ticket sales diminished 22% on June 28 on a year-on-year basis, and 41% the next day.

"This is rather a slow-down in the purchases without a peak in cancelations," the Office added, noting that the overall trend for the summer remained positive.

Head of the office, Jean-Francois Rial, told French media last week that the overall decrease is due to incidents and repetitive protests -- first against the pension reform and then the garbage collectors' strike -- which hurt France's international image.

- Losses in hotel turnovers

Celine, who refused to give her full name, an owner of a three-star hotel in central Paris, told Anadolu she lost more than €4,000 ($4,400) from June 28 - July 3.

"I lost around a quarter of my clients in that period, and lots of cancelations," she said. "Usually, at this period, I would have had no rooms available. Last week, I had two or three rooms out of 10 available. I also had cancelations for this week, but it seems to gradually resume with the end of the violence."

Celine hoped for financial help from the government to alleviate the losses.

A hotel director of a famous international chain in Nanterre, who did not reveal his identity, reported a 70% loss in turnover due to the riots.

Shops and hotels on Paris' famous Champs-Elysees, however, did not suffer as much.

They were not deeply affected by the violence and only had to spend more on security measures, including the recruitment of new staff.

Protests which started in Nanterre quickly spread to other cities, including Lyon, Toulouse, Lille, and Marseille.

Tensions rose following clashes between the police and protesters, before losing steam this week.

Many countries, including the US and Germany, urged their nationals to avoid traveling to France.

*Writing by Nur Asena Erturk in Ankara

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