Paris Unifies Cultural Front For Reviving Tourism After IMF Jihadist Attacks

A person was left injured recently by opening a bomb package at the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Paris, according to sources. The event occurred in the building that the IMF shares with the World Bank in the capital’s 16th district, which houses numerous embassies. The building was evacuated and a security perimeter was later established.

The victim of the terrorist attack, an IMF staff member, was wounded during the incident. Even though there were no other casualties, the victim was caught in the blast when she opened the package that arrived from the real address of the deputy leader of the opposition New Democracy party.

Christine Lagarde, the director of IMF, condemned the event, saying it was a “cowardly act of violence” against IMF staff. The package was intended for Jeffrey Franks, the head of the European office of the IMF, according to police prefect Michel Cadot.

Speaking to the media, Cadot stressed the woman’s life is not at risk and that the explosion did not affect any vital organs. Additionally, the damage from the attack was limited to just one wounded victim. As for the package, he said that it looked like a pyrotechnic device or a firecracker.

In his reaction before the details of the event were known, French President François Hollande said during a visit to the department of Var (southeast) that it was necessary to speak of “attack, there are no other words.” “Beyond solidarity” with the injured person, he added, “we have to find the culprits and we will do it with obstinacy and until the end.”

The incident, just six weeks before the presidential election, comes after the Greek far-left group known as Conspiracy of Fire Cells claimed responsibility for a bomb blast sent on Wednesday to German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble.

The commitment of government and local and regional authorities in Paris seeks to restore the confidence of visitors and attract them with the numerous proposals that make the Parisian capital and its surroundings the artistic nucleus of the country.

The portal will be officially launched next Monday. It will facilitate tourists by informing them of various ongoing events, allowing the reservation of tickets, providing geolocation of the nearby museums, and showcasing which exhibitions are available on the chosen dates.

The Louvre, the Pompidou Center, the Versailles Palace, the Grand Palais, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Orsay are some of the public and private institutions in Paris that include their activities on that new page.

The Paris region is seeking to “reconquer tourists who fled the capital” since the first jihadist attack in Paris in January of 2015, officials said.

In Paris, according to figures released today, hotel occupancy fell by 6 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year, and the region had 1.6 million fewer people, which meant that 1.3 billion euros disappeared from the economy.

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said that the campaign is part of an ambitious plan to relaunch tourism, which in 2017 has begun take flight.

Its focus on cultural matters is not free: half of the foreign tourists cite the visit of a cultural site among the main activities they carry out in the country, and 60 percent of the nationals say that when they go to an exhibition they do it on occasion of a tourist displacement.

The first foreign language of the portal will be English and then other languages, such as Spanish and German, will also be added.

A promotional video signed by French actress and director Melanie Laurent and a press trip, which included 80 journalists and bloggers from 30 countries, were designed to expand the project’s impact.

Its promoters admit that until now, the communication of the main cultural events of the year had not been made sufficiently in advance. Apart from that, attempts will be made to reach beyond the famous L’Art de Vivre (the art of living) French phrase and show people that the country has a lot more to offer than just the phrase.

Until now, 500 events in Paris and its region are visible, most affected by the fall of tourism after the attacks, but the agenda will include supply and heritage throughout the country, serving as a window to bolster cultural diversity of the whole region.

The statistics reflect the economic potential of the sector: the 22 national museums based in Paris scored 18.2 million entries in 2016, and the 10 national monuments in the capital experienced another 3.6 million entries.

[Featured Image by Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images]