Paris museums suffer losses after terror attacks

The Louvre, one of world's most famous museums, reported 15% decrease in visits, foreign visits dropped by 20%.

Yoel Domb , | updated: 8:50 AM

Louvre Museum. Losses
Louvre Museum. Losses
Jonathan Sindel. Flash 90

The tourism industry in Paris has suffered significant losses after Islamic terror attacks and natural disasters led tourists to opt out of visiting Paris and seek other destinations.

The Louvre, one of the world’s most famous and popular museums, suffered a 15 percent decrease in 2016, with the number of visitors dropping to 7.3 million people from 8.6 million. The rate of foreign visitors dropped even more—20 percent to 5.3 million in 2016, according to a BBC report.

Jean-Luc Martinez, the Louvre’s director, told the Le Figaro newspaper that the drop in visitors could cost the gallery as much as 10 million euros.

The museum blamed two terror attacks—one in 2015 and one in 2016—for the drop in tourism, as well as flooding in the Seine in June, which forced the museum to close for four days.

In November 2015, 130 people were killed in a series of attacks in and around Paris, Europe’s worst attacks in a decade. In July, an attacker killed 86 people in Nice by driving through a crowd during Bastille Day celebrations. Two years ago terrorists targeted the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices killing 11 and a kosher foodstore in Paris, killing 4 people. Paris authorities responded by increasing security and implementing a state of emergency.

The Louvre isn’t alone. Other museums have also suffered a decrease in visits, according to the BBC. Hotel reservations dropped by 10 percent between January and August of 2016. Reservations from foreigners fell by 14.4 percent in that period, while bookings from French residents decreased by 2 percent, according to data from the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In August, Paris announced the city lost 750 million euros in tourism due to the attacks, flooding, and strikes. Paris tourist board head Frédéric Valletoux described the loss in tourism as "an industrial disaster".

Massive labor protests took place over several months throughout France this year, as well as the worst flooding of the Seine, the main river flowing through Paris, in 35 years.