People, Travel

Tourists’ Paris Fears Dissipating

Tourists’ Paris Fears DissipatingTourists’ Paris Fears Dissipating

Tourism still has not normalized in Paris following November’s terrorist attacks but American and European travelers’ security perceptions of the French capital have significantly rebounded.

Spain-based tourism data company Socialvane analyzed more than 4.4 million tourism-related Twitter and Instagram mentions about Paris during the past three months and created a perceived security index for how safe tourists feel Paris and other European cities are for travel, Skift reported.

The data includes keywords and semantics related to fears about tourist security in Paris such as this example. Most mentions came from 10 countries with the US, France and the UK accounting for about 75%.

Before the attacks on November 13 the global index value for Paris varied between 80 and 90 out of 100. Immediately following the attacks the value nosedived to zero and remained there until the first week of December. As of last week that index was about 64 which is still slightly higher than the US traveler index.

 “Measuring perception is a difficult task. When we measure security we’re measuring everything from robberies to murders to terrorism,” said Hugo Sanchez, COO of Socialvane. So the list of keywords and semantic relations that we’re looking for here is really extensive.”

Paris was in the low 80s the week before November 13 on the global index. Sanchez said the French capital is still perceived as one of the safest cities and that no city has a perfect index score given general perceptions of crime in metropolitan areas.

“We found that tourists were more sensitive to [traveling to Europe] but were mostly just concerned about Paris as that was the site of the attacks,” said Sanchez.

 “I think everyone in Europe right now is really sensitive about what happened in Paris. European tourists aren’t going to places like Tunisia anymore because of attacks that also happened there. In Spain we’re seeing a greater number of tourists from elsewhere in Europe because it’s a similar climate to Tunisia. But if [a terrorist attack] happens in Spain it could really hurt Spain and the entire European economy.”

Paris typically receives between 40,000 to 50,000 tourism-related mentions on Twitter and Instagram per day. That number soared to more than 210,000 in the days following the attacks and has since returned to normal, according to Socialvane.