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Travel industry news

13 Jan 2016

BY TTG Staff


Paris shakes off the terror threat

Visitors are no longer put off from visiting the French capital, a study shows. Patrick Whyte reports.


Travellers' confidence in visiting Paris is returning

Paris’s standing as one of the most popular destinations in the world looks to have returned with new data revealing that the city has bounced back from last November’s devastating terrorist attacks.


A study by travel data specialist Sojern shows the impact the atrocity had on interest in visiting the country – but also how quickly it regained favour among travellers.


The tragic attacks on November 13 in which 130 people were killed immediately caused a steep drop in intent to travel – which measures flight search and booking data – for Paris and a host of other European cities.


Intent to travel fell to -20% the day after the attack and continued to spiral downwards, before hitting a low of -43% on November 20.


Brussels, which suffered its own terror-related problem at the end of last year, saw its own intent to travel score plummet. It has also failed to return to the same degree as Paris. This could be down to the prolonged lockdown of the city and ongoing terror warnings. Rome, London and Berlin also suffered in the immediate aftermath, with potential holidaymakers appearing to be put off from travelling to these capitals.


The effect on Paris lasted until November 27, when intent to travel moved from a negative percentage to a neutral and later positive one.


Jim Brigden, Europe, Middle East and Africa managing director at Sojern, said: “Few things can hurt a tourist destination like terrorist attacks and last January’s jihadist attacks and the more recent terrorist activity in Paris have dealt a blow to this famous city’s tourist industry.


“The immediate impact on travel searches and bookings to Paris was severe, with a steady drop in global travel intent reaching a week-on-week decline of 43% on November 20.


“As with all tragedy or turmoil, there is an initial period of panic and tourism suffers. The reverberations were felt beyond Paris and on November 19 we saw global travel intent to London drop by 23% week-on-week, Munich by 23%, Rome by 25%, Brussels by 33% and Amsterdam by 20% respectively. We can speculate that this is largely a repercussion of the Paris attacks.”

Panic period

Regionally, potential travellers from the Middle East and North Africa were the quickest to return to a positive intent to travel to Paris (on November 25).


At a country level, the French rebounded with a high of +20% week over week on November 25. Other key European source markets have also seen improving sentiment, starting from early December.


Brigden added: “What is remarkable though is not the dip in travel, but the recovery. French travellers were the first to rebound from the attack and showed travel intent from as early as November 21, just over a week after the attacks.


“We also began to see stabilisation in travel intent for Paris across other European cities including the UK, Germany and Italy at the beginning of December. Paris will remain one of the most visited cities in the world and tourists will continue to demonstrate resilience and defiance in the face of terrorism.”


Short break specialist SuperBreak agreed that demand for travel to Paris had returned in recent weeks.


“Bookings for Paris started to build pre-Christmas but the volumes were relatively low as it is a quiet time of year in terms of sales for all travel companies,” said Jane Atkins, sales and product director.


“Since New Year, booking levels have returned to where we would expect to see them during the key January booking weeks and they are in line with previous years. As always, the British public remain resilient when attacks like this happen.”

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