How long did it take for what many see as France’s diplomatic back-stabbing of the U.S. and Great Britain on Iraq to hurt the nation’s tourism industry?
Not very long.
After 14 years in second place, Spain has replaced France as the United Kingdom’s favorite holiday destination.
A loss of 300,000 visitors to France and a 25 percent drop in bookings in a month is the reason, reports the Scotsman.
The French president’s anti-war stance and the “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” factor in the United States has also caused a decline in the number of U.S. tourists. Tension between the UK and France increased two weeks ago when protesters desecrated a cemetery in northern France, vandalizing memorials with graffiti.
Travelers are actively boycotting France, according to Holidaylets.net, which has 2,000 homes to rent.
Travel to Paris off sharply in recent months
Internet searches for France have dropped significantly, according to Ross Hugo, the managing director, who said his sales teams have indicated French attitudes, and the incident involving Second World War graves had hardened attitudes.
“Our understanding is that this [drop] is due to political tensions,” he added.
Around 12.6 million Britons have visited Spain in the last year while visits to France fell to 11.7 million from more than 12 million. Owen Davies, the marketing director of the Individual Travelers’ Company, said: “Spain has held up well but France is down.”
A spokeswoman for the French tourist office in London admitted UK bookings were “sluggish” and that there had been a downturn in U.S. visitors.
But some British companies are describing the “downturn” as a drastic decline.
And Chez Nous, a leading seller of French accommodation, has had cancellations since the war began, where customers said French President Jacques Chirac’s “obstruction” was the reason.
French goods before crushing in radio promotion (KXNT photo)
As WorldNetDaily previously reported, U.S. lawmakers have pushed for a boycott of the summer Paris Air Show, and Americans have held demonstrations against Paris on the heels of polls showing France more unpopular now than at any time in the past decade.
The Washington Post says American importers of French wine are reporting sharp sales drops in the past two months, with other French products also affected. The Federation of Wine Exporters will meet tomorrow to discuss how to respond.
France’s main business federation is taking the unusual step of publicly acknowledging the problem, conceding that sales, recruitment and business contacts have been hurt. It appealed to consumers and businesses to keep political differences from affecting commerce, according to the Post.