A big “Merci” (thank you) has graced the pavement in front of Paris City Hall since Wednesday, following the weekend’s news that the number of likes on the city’s official Facebook page had hit two million.
Standing at 2,035,433 on Thursday afternoon, the City of Light dwarfs London’s 1,136,964, not to mention the scores of other tourist-trade rivals, such as New York, Madrid or Dubai.
City authorities are all the more proud given the fact that only 335,000 of the fans are French.
The news is a boost for the city’s efforts to stay ahead in the tourist stakes and should help a campaign to make up for the dip in visits over the winter.
Paris receives the highest number of visitors of any city in the world – 29 million in 2011- but is losing ground in the income stakes, especially to Spain.
And retailers and tourism professionals are unhappy that their receipts go down as the thermometer tumbles.
Over 300 of them will be offering discounts and even freebies starting this weekend as part of a campaign under the slogans “Shopping by Paris”, “Paris Romantique” and “Christmas Shopping”.
Window displays will be pushing luxury products in an attempt to attract the 50 per cent of tourists who do serious shopping when they come to town.
- Tourism and retail account for a quarter of Paris’s jobs.
- The city has 15,000 cafés, hotels and restaurants and 5,800 clothes shops.
- Chinese visitors are the biggest spenders at 1,600-1,700 euros per shop per day.
- Russian, Japanese, Brazilian and Saudi visitors are increasing in number.