France plans security measures to reassure Asian tourists: Paper

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (left) speaking with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls as they leave the Elysee Palace after a security meeting with the French President in Paris after the Nice terror attack on July 14, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS) - France plans to bring in more police units and surveillance cameras to reassure Asian tourists put off by robberies and militant attacks and avoid a sharp drop in visitor numbers, daily newspaper Le Figaro said on Sunday (Nov 6).

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 four to five 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 will convene a government committee on tourism on Monday, will grant about 43 million euros (S$66 million) to fund security as well as an advertising campaign and measures to help restaurants and hotels, Le Figaro said, 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 gifts.

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