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Paris Tourism Took Hit After Attacks But Dip Could Level OffDecember 22, 2015
Beth J. Harpaz, The Associated Press, December 22, 2015
NEW YORK (AP) — Paris tourism took a hit in the weeks following the Nov. 13 terror attacks, with a 12 percent drop in hotel occupancy for the month of November and Air France reporting $54.5 million in lost revenue.
But airfare prices are holding relatively steady, and some reports suggest the downturn could level off in the new year barring further incidents.
Here are some snapshots from various sectors of the travel industry.
Air France reported November traffic to and from Paris was "significantly impacted" with a "negative impact" on revenues of around 50 million euros (about US $54.5 million). But Air France also said booking trends suggest a "progressive recovery" including "limited impact" in the new year.
The travel data company ForwardKeys said in a Nov. 24 report that new air passenger bookings for future arrivals were 27 percent below 2014 levels.
The Airlines Reporting Corp. reported declines in air ticket sales of around 11 percent the week after the attacks and 8 percent the week of Nov. 22-28. ARC says its data represents about 50 percent of air tickets sold.
The ARC also found the price of round-trip U.S.-Paris economy flights during the second week of December dropped nearly 5 percent year over the year, from $1,209.50 in 2014 to $1,152.52 in 2015.
For Christmas week, though, CheapOair.com, an online booking site, found average round-trip international airfare to Paris, unchanged between 2014 and 2015, at $966.
Bottom line: Air traffic was down in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, but if you're looking for future airfare bargains, you're out of luck so far. George Hobica, founder of AirfareWatchdog.com, says the attacks "have had no appreciable effect on fares to Paris."
The U.S. dollar is worth more against the euro than it was a year ago, however, so that may be masking slightly higher airfares for prices set in euros.
November hotel occupancy rates for Paris decreased 12 percent for the month compared with the previous year, according to STR Global, which tracks hotel data.
Nightly hotel occupancy rates in the two weeks following the attacks ranged from 22 to 39 percent lower than the same dates in 2014, STR said. But there was an uptick at the end of November as climate conference attendees began arriving, STR reported.
JacTravel, a wholesale hotel room buyer, said hotels have so far been "reluctant" to drop rates and instead were offering upgrades, discounts and special rates for dinner with hotel stays. The company said in a statement that hotels will likely wait until after the holiday period in January before deciding on future pricing.
Travel Leaders Group, one of the largest travel agencies in the U.S., reported that Paris dropped out of its top 10 list of destinations for the new year for the first time since 2011, coming in at No. 11 for 2016. In a survey by the company, 20 percent of its travel agents said their clients had delayed or canceled trips to Paris; 24 percent said clients were continuing with plans to travel to Paris; and the rest had no bookings for November or early December.
The World Travel & Tourism Council predicts that the attacks' impact will be short term. "We expect destinations where tourists were not specifically targeted, such as Paris, to recover rapidly after the initial shock," the WTTC said in an email.
The organization noted that arrivals to Spain following a train bombing in Madrid in 2004 recovered within weeks, and that a train bombing in London in 2005 "had no notable impact on tourist arrivals." In contrast, bombings in Indonesia in 2002 and 2005 that targeted tourist areas did lead to a downturn in tourism.
This story has been corrected to show data from CheapOair reflects price of international flights to Paris, not from U.S.
This article was written by Beth J. Harpaz from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.