Paris police seal off the scene of a street robbery
Russian capital Moscow is now seen as a safer destination for China’s wealthy holidaymakers and a weaker pound is making a UK visit good value for money.
Jean-François Zhou, President of the Chinese Association of Travel Agencies in France, said increasingly violent thefts and assaults were turning the country into “one of the worst destinations for foreign tourists”.
Mr Zhou, who represents major Chinese travel agency Utour, reported a steep decline in visitor numbers from Asia.
Police are a visible presence at Paris's major tourist hotspots
For a number of Chinese tourists, the dream of visiting France and Paris has turned into a nightmare
He he told Le Parisien newspaper: “In 2016, there were 1.6million Chinese tourists compared to 2.2million in 2015. The number of Japanese tourists dropped 39 per cent, and Koreans 27 per cent.
“Our tourists have turned to Russia, which is less attractive but at least it is a safe country. For Vladimir Putin, it is an economic windfall.
“For a number of Chinese tourists, the dream of visiting France and Paris has turned into a nightmare.
“Chinese tourists are robbed in the palace of Versailles, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, in front of their hotel, as they leave their coaches.
“In high season, not a day goes by without tourists being assaulted.”
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Paris police arrest a suspected mugger on the Metro
Mr Zhou said one incident left an 80-year-old man seriously injured after he tried to fight off thieves and also claimed female tourists had been pushed to the ground ad had their bags stolen.
The travel expert said he had watched France’s security situation deteriorate over the years and said Paris now ranked “number one in Europe in terms of the upsurge in delinquency”.
Paris police on patrol at the Louvre
Riot police begin destroying migrant camps in Paris
Mon, October 31, 2016
Overnight fires broke out in many parts of the camp destroying shacks and makeshift shops along the camps main street. Many migrants have left by coach to be relocated at centres across France.
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Paris’s regional tourism office last year reported a slump in visitor numbers to the city and blamed some of the decline on terror fears.
More than 200 people have been killed in Islamic terror attacks in France since 2015.