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French hotels, restaurants see post-attacks bookings slump

AFP , Monday 16 Nov 2015
People walk in front of the terrace of the French cafe "Les deux magots" at the Saint-Germain-des-Pres district in Paris, on November 16, 2015. (Photo:AFP)

French hotels and restaurants Monday reported a slump in bookings and a spate of cancellations since Friday's deadly attacks in Paris.

"The months ahead are going to be difficult -- as was the case after January's attacks" in the French capital against the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Didier Le Calvez, president of the luxury arm of the hotel union Umih Prestige, told AFP.

"Since Saturday there has been a sizeable wave of hotel cancellations for the two or three coming months," he said, adding that the sector had "just been recovering" in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo saga.

"We've just registered a 50 percent sales drop for November," he revealed.

Vincent Lemaitre, managing director of Parisian group Flo which notably owns brasseries La Coupole and Bofinger, also noted a similar drop in bookings, as did Didier Chenet, president of the GNI-Synhorcat hotel and restaurant group.

"It is too soon to have the figures but it is certain that the economic impact will be significant for the whole sector, as was the case in January but also in 1995," which saw a series of train bombings in Paris blamed on the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria.

Roland Heguy, president of Umih, France's hotel trade association, said the cancellation of this week's planned congress of town mayors would also hit he sector.

Umih counts among its member establishments the Petit Cambodge restaurant, one of the venues targeted in Friday's attacks.

Heguy earlier urged Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve to attend its annual congress in Bordeaux later this month to show his support "to a profession which feels destabilised" in the current climate of insecurity.

Earlier Monday, Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin urged the public to return to bars, concerts and restaurants in defiance of terror.

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