The French tourism sector is facing a wave of cancellations and losses as the country is rocked by days of violent protests over the fatal police shooting of a teenager. Nahel, 17, was killed during a traffic stop in a Paris suburb on Tuesday, sparking riots and looting across several cities.
According to the main association for hotel and catering industry employers, many hotels and restaurants have seen their reservations cancelled or postponed in the areas affected by the unrest. Some establishments have also been attacked, vandalised or burned by angry protesters.
The retail federation has also reported more than a hundred stores being damaged or looted, and has called for reinforced police security. The Paris Chamber of Commerce has offered support and assistance to the traders and managers of the affected companies.
The violence has also raised concerns about the impact on France’s image as the world’s most popular tourist destination, especially among Asian tourists who are very sensitive to security issues. Some foreign media have shown dramatic images of Paris on fire and blood, which do not reflect the reality, according to an organisation for independent hotels and restaurants.
The authorities have deployed thousands of police officers and vowed to restore order as soon as possible. President Emmanuel Macron has urged parents to keep teenagers at home and proposed restrictions on social media to quell the rioting. He has also promised justice for Nahel and his family, and called for calm and dialogue.