France beefing up security to reassure tourists

PARIS • France plans to bring in more police units and surveillance cameras to reassure Asian tourists put off by robberies and militant attacks and to avoid a sharp drop in visitor numbers, daily newspaper Le Figaro has said.

France is the most popular country in the world for tourists, with almost 85 million visitors last year, and the sector employs about two million people.

Tourism companies reckon visitor numbers will fall by 4 to 5 per cent this year due to deadly militant attacks, notably in Paris and the Riviera city of Nice, coupled with a spate of robberies targeting Asian tourists.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who convened a government committee on tourism yesterday, was to grant about €43 million (S$66 million) to fund security as well as an advertising campaign and measures to help restaurants and hotels, Le Figaro said on Sunday, citing unnamed sources.

The extra police and cameras will mainly be focused on visitor attractions and access routes in and around Paris, while the government will also develop a tourist security label to communicate the safety of sites, the paper said.

Tourism firms have called for dedicated police to combat robberies which have targeted Asians because of their reputation for carrying large sums of cash and buying luxury items.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2016, with the headline 'France beefing up security to reassure tourists'. Print Edition | Subscribe