Wealthy Americans pull back on trips to Paris after outbreak of Israel-Hamas war

Wealthy Americans are hesitant to book trips to Paris as the war in the Middle East and its broader repercussions reduce demand for tourism.

Sales of premium class airline tickets for travel between New York and Paris jumped 44% in the three weeks to October 7 compared to the same period in 2019, the last normal year before Covid-19. 19 does not disrupt air travel habits. That figure fell to 4% in the three weeks following the attacks, according to ForwardKeys, a travel analytics company.

“The numbers show that many wealthy Americans who can afford to travel on premium flights and above were hesitant to book trips between New York and Paris” once the conflict broke out, says Juan Gomez, head of market research at ForwardKeys. Premium class tickets refer to economy, business and first class.

Since the Hamas attacks against Israel on October 7, France has raised its terrorist alert to highest levela decision highlighted by the American embassy, ​​which exhorted its citizens to “remain vigilant of their environment” when traveling in the country and in particular to avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place.

France also witnessed the fatal assassination on October 13 of a teacher who was describe as an Islamist terrorist attack by President Emmanuel Macron. Airports and monuments such as the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles were also evacuated following bomb threats.

France is the the most visited country in the world and its capital is a major shopping destination with some of the world’s largest flagship stores. Luxury giants LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE and Hermes International are headquartered in Paris.

“We know from tour operators and high-end hotel players that they have started to see cancellations in European capitals,” amid fears of terrorism, said Claudia d’Arpizio, partner at Bain , at Bloomberg. D’Arpizio takes care of clients in the luxury industry.

Indeed, these cancellations are not limited to the French capital. Jack Ezon, founder of luxury travel agency Embark Beyond, says his company has seen cancellations of 53% of its planned trips to Europe from the United States over the next two months, including itineraries in Paris, London and Rome. Besides the fear of anti-Semitic attacks, he says, “the main reasons why customers cancel are Islamophobia, fear of being stuck abroad in the event of war, the feeling of discomfort of being ‘put in danger’ with the chaos everywhere and the worry that many people are feeling. abroad are not only anti-Jewish but also anti-American. »

In a conversation at the World Travel Market convention in London in early November, Maria Elena Rossi, director of marketing at the Italian National Tourist Board, also told Bloomberg that the war in the Middle East had led to cancellations in the Italian hotel industry and had become a source of concern. .

Those observations are echoed by exclusive Paris hotels such as the Plaza Athénée and Le Meurice, which have seen cancellations from American guests since the attacks, a person familiar with reservations at those hotels told Bloomberg this month. Representative of the Dorchester Collection, the group behind the Plaza Athénée and Le Meurice declined to comment.

The luxury palace hotel The Bristol We also witnessed a “small wave of cancellations” which lasted around ten days after October 7, according to Catherine Hodoul-Baudry, sales and marketing manager. New bookings made up for these cancellations, with October’s overall performance being described as “record”, she said. Americans are the hotel’s largest source of business by nationality, making up approximately 35% of its clientele.

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