On Tuesday Japan Airlines announced it would suspend its Tokyo – Paris route after demand for the route dropped by 60% following the deadly Paris attacks. The news came at the same time as Ryanair announced that flights were getting quickly booked up for Paris 2016 and that it was going to add more flights for the football tournament scheduled for summer 2016.
Both stories are indicative of people’s mixed reactions to travelling to Paris on holiday. According to research, the attacks may have taken €905.89 million (£660m) off the value of Europe’s tourism industry. Hotels in Paris have been reporting cancellations and are down 40% compared to the same time in 2014. Flight bookings too have dropped 27% the week after the attacks. The drop in flight bookings cost Airfrance KLM a whopping €50 million. The cost could have been still greater had it not been for the COP21 which was held in Paris just weeks after the attacks.
French tourism has been hit hard at a time when it relies on tourism in the winter weeks preceding Christmas. The travel warnings issued by different countries at the time of the attacks, along with the fact that one of the attackers is still at large means that it is going to be a challenge to rebuild the sense of safety and confidence tourists once felt in Paris, where in the past they had brought in close to €21 billion.
But there is a silver-lining. Reduced demand means both hotels and flights are available at reduced rates. The reality of the security situation too, is that police are on high alert and security in Paris has never been better.
Ryanair, for the month of January, has tickets around €40 return between Paris and London. AirFrance is offering deals between Tokyo and Paris starting at €599, perhaps in response to Japan Airlines’ suspended route. British Airways also is offering flights between London and Paris for €100 in the new year. As MKG Group reports, there was a 20-point drop in the hospitality sector, a terrible drop but one that means that travellers can expect reduced hotel rates in some places around the city.
All in all, between the increased security and the slashed prices, there has been perhaps no better time to go to Paris.