France has seen a 30% to 40% fall in tourists following the coronavirus outbreak according to the French Finance minister Bruno Le Maire. The drop off in tourist numbers is seen as posing a major impact on France’s economy. France is one of the most visited countries in the world, and tourism accounts for nearly 8% of its GDP. It is estimated that France welcomes around 2.7 million Chinese tourists to the country each year, but the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak will seriously impact the tourist season of 2020.
The announcement was made at the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meetings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Amid travel bans and trip postponements, demand for air travel has fallen, leading to more than 200,000 flight cancellations.
As of March 2nd 2020, a third person died of the coronavirus in France.
So far in Europe there have been reported 191 cases in France, 151 in Germany and Italy 2026 cases.
The virus causes mild disease in about 80% of cases and most cases recover, while about 14 % have more severe disease and 6% experience critical illness.
France took the extraordinary measure of closing the world-famous Louvre Museum on Sunday as a precaution amid rising fears across Western Europe which continues to threaten the tourism industry.
As the U.S. government advised Americans against traveling to the northern Italian region of Italy, Milan has been affected hardest by major American airlines suspending flights to Milan. American Airlines is waiving fees for changing all flights over the next two weeks.
The travel restrictions could deal a heavy blow to the countries’ tourism industries. Spring, especially the popular Easter period for schoolchildren to visit France and Italy.
A statement by the Italy’s hotel association notes that they are already seeing a slowdown. Tourism accounts for 13% of the economy in Italy, with more than 5.6 million Americans visiting Italy every year.
The escalating figures came as the head of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned individuals in higher-risk groups to avoid crowds and other places of elevated infection risk.