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Paris Turns Blue, White and Red For Victims Of Friday's Terrorist Attacks
France replaces England this week as the world's fifth largest economy following British pound's decline after Brexit. Photograph by Marc Piasecki—Getty Images

Terrorism’s Effect on Tourism Doesn’t Last Very Long

Nov 30, 2015

News of the terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 earlier this month was followed quickly by reports of tourists reconsidering their plans to visit the City of Light.

But concerns about visiting Paris probably won't last too long.

It takes tourism 13 months to recover from a terrorist attack, according to a study from the World Travel and Tourism Council, a trade group that shared its key findings with Fortune. By comparison, tourism takes longer to bounce back from disease (21 months), an environmental disaster (24 months), and political unrest (27 months). Tourism's recovery after a natural disaster takes longer because it often requires the rebuilding of infrastructure—often a time-consuming endeavor.

The WTTC said that based on its analysis of impacts at the country level, "previous large-scale terrorist attacks in major European capitals have had a decidedly limited impact on overall tourism in the country."

The trade group looked specifically at the train bombings in Madrid in 2004 and found that tourist arrivals to Spain returned to "pre-bombing levels" in a matter of weeks. The bombings in London in 2005 had "no notable impact on tourist arrivals in the U.K. at all." The WTTC said that it expects Paris "to return quickly to normal visitor levels." That's good news for France, where 9% of its GDP and 10% of total employment are tied to tourism. The country receives 84 million visitors per year—the most in the world.

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