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Monday,  July 22, 2024   4:28 PM
France's Ambassador to Canada talks tourism in relation to recent attacks

Following a string of terrorism-related attacks last week, France's Ambassador to Canada said that protecting the country's touristic activities remains a priority.

In an interview with PAXnews.com, Philippe Zeller emphasized that France remains a number one tourist destination, and that the government will ensure this sector is minimally affected by recent events.

"Tourism is one of our economic priorities, and all will be done to protect these activities," he said.

Zeller had just returned from France on Wednesday to learn of the attacks on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which took place while he was in the air, enroute back to Canada. The horror continued on Thursday when a police officer was shot to death south of Paris, although it was not originally clear if this was related to the Hebdo attacks. On Friday, two hostage situations linked to the first attack ultimately came to an end as police killed the two al-Qaida-linked alleged gunmen and an accomplice.

"We could see some fall-out (in tourism) during the next weeks when it's time to make a choice about France for a destination during summer holidays, for instance, but the political wish is to overcome the situation, to protect the French population - including of course our guests - and to do it in a manner that touristic areas will not be affected," Zeller said. "As you know, France has so many different positive landscapes, cities, history; it's really a country with opportunity for tourism activities."

He hopes that these events will not overshadow France as Canadians know it, and that they continue to consider the country as a destination for upcoming travel.

Zeller himself was just on vacation in his home country in the area of Charmonix, which he offered as a recommendation.

Reports by Reuters and the Associated Press say that France will have more than 10,000 soldiers mobilized by Tuesday.

"The threats remain and we have to protect ourselves from them. It is an internal operation that will mobilize almost as many men as we have in our overseas operations," Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters, according to the Globe and Mail.

Rallies have taken place across the globe over the past few days, as citizens show solidarity with the people of France, including one of more than 500 people at Ottawa's Confederation Park yesterday. Zeller said he has been moved by the outpouring of support.

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