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The Paris Attacks Could Cost the French Economy 2 Billion Euros

Cultural and tourism sectors have taken a huge hit in the French capital due to numerous cancelations after the terror attacks that killed 130 people on November 13.
November 27, 2015, 2:20am
Photo by Daniel Bateman

The economic toll of the brutal assault on Paris two weeks ago could reach 2 billion euros ($2.1 billion), according to confidential government figures disclosed this week, as a picture emerged of the big hit that business has taken in the City of Light.

To provide this estimate, the General Directorate of the Treasury monitored tourism in the French capital between November 13 and 23, French radio station RTL reported, and studied the economic consequences of other terror attacks.


The treasury took into account the drop in consumption and the economic slowdown due to imposed safety measures, according to RTL.

Although several economic pundits argue there is no reliable way to project such an economic downturn, certain sectors are already slumping.

Hotel occupancy in Paris dropped by 24 percent on average in the 10 days following the attacks, according to the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, and flight reservations for the winter break are 13 percent lower than last year. Malls and department stores saw their attendance drop by 30 to 50 percent across the country. Some museums, which had to close for several days in Paris, saw the number of visitors plunge 50 percent in the week following the attacks.

"The impact of the November 13 attacks is stronger than the January killings," the Paris Convention and Visitor Bureau said on Wednesday, comparing the most recent carnage to the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher superstore killings from earlier this year.

The bureau blamed the hotel room drop on the cancellation of several protests and events in Paris, including the largest gathering of French mayors. Reservations are back up since last Sunday, it said. Flights are also "back to normal" this week.

Related: This Is What Happened at the Bataclan Concert Hall During the Paris Attacks

"We are getting back on track, but the consequences of the attacks are still evident," Jean-Michel Silberstein, general delegate for the National Council of French Shopping Centers (CNCC), told AFP.


Another study, by the French Small and Medium-sized Enterprises General Confederation, shows that two-thirds of French companies are not affected by the attacks. Most of the firms (65 percent) do not foresee having to adopt special measures.

But members of the French cultural sector are worried. The deadliest site of the attacks on November 13 was the concert hall Le Bataclan, where 90 people were killed.

In the week that followed, the sale of tickets for shows dropped by 80 percent compared to last year, according to Prodiss, the union for French producers, performance halls and distributors, and a number of shows were canceled.

"Our 340 enterprises are mainly small companies … which are quite fragile," said the syndicate. Prodiss called on the French government to set up a 50-million euro fund to soften the blow.

"This sum could be really useful," Thierry Suc, a producer, told RTL. "Our concert halls are quite empty and we had to invest a lot for security reasons. This is clearly a double sentence: less money come in, yet we have additional expenditures."

On Wednesday, French Culture minister Fleur Pellerin said a 4-million euro relief fund has been created "to help private halls cope with new security expenditures and the drop in attendance." It should be functional in the next two weeks.

Related: These Are the Scars From the Paris Attacks That You Can't See

The massive security measures announced by the French government will also come at a cost.


French president François Hollande has vowed to create 8,500 additional jobs for police and the judiciary and freeze cuts to the army ranks until 2019. All of these resolutions "will lead to new costs, and I take full responsibility for it. The security pact is more important that the stability pact,"  said Hollande at the time.

According to French socialist deputy Dominque Lefebvre, vice-president of the Finance Commission at the National Assembly, these measures will cost "a few hundred millions euros."

In the midst of all this, some companies have seen business go up — like flag makers.

Today, France will honor the victims of that bloody Friday night and Hollande has called on French citizens to hang a French flag at their windows as a sign of support.

Follow Lucie Aubourg on Twitter: @LucieAbrg