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France tourism recoils after Nice attack

Monday, July 18, 2016 - 01:49

France - the world's most-visited country - takes stock of the economic damage done by yet another massive blow to its vital tourist sector after last week's truck attack on the French Riviera. David Pollard reports.

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For the city of Nice, it must have been an agonising decision. But allowing tourists back on to its famous promenade - within days of an attack that left 85 people dead - did send a clear message: we're open for business. If for the time being, the main business is grieving. (SOUNDBITE) (French) NICE ATTACK SURVIVOR, IOLANDA, SAYING: "Life goes on. We cry but life goes on." Nice is the second most visited city in a country that itself gets the most visitors in the world. Around 8 per cent of France's two trillion dollar economy comes from tourism. After a successful Euros football tournament, the Nice events threaten to derail a sense of getting back to normal after the Paris attacks of last November. The surprise then, might be just how little the attacks shaved off growth: just 0.1 per cent after Paris. Not enough to prevent France from still aiming for a target of 1.5 per cent GDP this year. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NICK PARSONS, GLOBAL HEAD FX STRATEGY, NAB, SAYING: "It's household consumption, it's business investment. France has always had very strong export-oriented industries, so I think the broad-based nature of the recovery does bode well." But next year's elections loom large in France. A huge challenge for President Hollande as be bids to head off the rise of the right-wing, euro sceptic, anti-immigration, National Front. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NICK PARSONS, GLOBAL HEAD FX STRATEGY, NAB, SAYING: "Political uncertainty is going to be something that during the fourth quarter of this year is probably going to be more manifest in the exchange rate and we think it's going to be something that will weigh down on the external value of the euro." As a new week began in Nice - a minute's silence for the victims. France's visitor numbers could decline by nearly a third in the coming month, according to one estimate. For Nice, business not quite as usual - and for a long while yet, likely to be a struggle.

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France tourism recoils after Nice attack

Monday, July 18, 2016 - 01:49