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Foreigners down and out in Paris

Foreign tourist numbers are down in the captial but the French are stepping in to compensate.

The director of the Paris tourist office Paul Roll said: “As the international market has weakened, French visitors have stepped up to compensate.”

In the first half of 2008 the number of visitors rose 2.2% on last year to 17,266 million over night stays with hotels on average 80% full.

Figures from the tourist board say 57% of tourists in the capital come from abroad with 30% of these from the Middle East, Brazil, Russia and China.

Traditionally strong countries like the USA and Japan have seen their visitor numbers drop to 20.1% and 8.1% respectively.

“These tourists have been hit by the rising cost of fuel and the high value of the euro,”said Mr Roll.

The number of French people visiting Paris accounts for 2.7% of hotel stays.

Tourism director Jean-Bernard Bros who works at the Paris mayor’s office said that in the face of dropping spending power, urban tourism fared better than villages and the countryside in general.

Paris is still the most expensive European capital city for the cost of hotels. The average price of a room rose 6.4% this year to €151,60.

62 % of over nights stays in Paris take place in hotels of at least three stars.

With 2,000 luxury suites, Paris has 3% of the world’s top hotel rooms, according to the tourist office.


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