Paris Turns To Emerging Markets To Make Up For Arrivals Shortfall

Having lost 1.5 million visitors last year due to terror attacks, the city of lights and romance is out to get some love from emerging markets, with new sources such as Singapore and Indonesia primed to be among top five Asian markets in the next five years.

Describing 2016 as “a difficult year”, Francois Navarro, managing director of Paris Region Tourist Board, said his focus this year was to recover the 1.5 million arrivals loss by conquering new markets such as South-east Asia, South America, Mexico and Africa.

Japan and Italy remain “sensitive” to safety and security, however, other markets had recovered in the first two months of this year, claimed Navarro, who was in Thailand and Singapore to meet the media and trade.

China, South Korea and Japan are Paris region’s top three Asian sources. In five years, however, he predicted Singapore or Indonesia would be the second largest Asian market and Japan would be out of top five. Arrivals from Singapore rose to about 130,000 last year, from virtually nowhere five or six years ago.

Of the 1.8 million Asian arrivals Paris Region received, about one million alone were Chinese visitors whom Navarro said had returned after a 20 per cent decline last year. He believed there is still huge potential for more Chinese arrivals given the market’s size and a growing trend of FITs.

Navarro said the French government, realising the tourism sector’s contribution of 500,000 jobs and 21 billion euros (US$23 billion) to the economy, had moved the industry to be under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the Ministry of Economy and Finance three years ago.

This had enabled the French embassies worldwide to promote tourism and facilitates visa relaxation. Since then, Chinese travellers could get a visa in one day; last year, this was extended to Indonesians and, according to Atout France regional director ASEAN, Morad Tayebi, arrivals from Indonesia rose 70 per cent.

Navarro also urged the trade to educate clients on the new developments that make Paris even more “must-see”. Some examples include the newly redesigned Seine riverbanks; new spectacular architecture such as the Louis Vuitton Foundation by Frank Gehry and the Philharmonie de Paris by Jean Nouvel; and famous department stores such as Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, which are opened seven days a week effective three weeks ago.

Meanwhile, the French government, city of Paris and region of Paris have joined hands on a new eight million euros campaign, Feel Paris Region, in 15 markets. Thus far, it has been launched in Europe.

Paris is also bidding for Olympics 2024 and World Expo 2025.

For the Olympics, it is down to Paris and Los Angeles, the decision to be announced in Lima this September. Navarro believed Paris’ chances were good, as 2024 would mark exactly 100 year since Paris hosted the Olympics in 1924.
Source:, 08 May 2017

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