Tourists disappointed as strike closes Eiffel Tower for second day
AFP: The Eiffel Tower closed for a second day on Wednesday due to a strike over salaries and working conditions, in the latest blow to the French capital’s battered tourist industry.
The monument's management apologised to visitors stranded at the gates of the tower, lamenting an ill-timed blow to the city's image.
The strike comes as Paris is struggling to revive tourism after a string of deadly attacks and a year marred by floods, violent labour protests and polluted air.
"I wonder if they (the strikers) really understand the current context," said Anne Yannic, director of SETE, the company that manages the tower.
Paris’s most famous landmark, the tower has seen visitors decline from about 7 million in 2015 to an estimated 6 million this year, and forecasts a corresponding 14 percent drop in revenue, Yannic told the Associated Press.
She said the company had avoided layoffs so far but “cannot afford extra hires” – one of the demands put forward by trade unions.
Representatives of the CGT and FO unions among Tower personnel did not immediately comment.
Dejected tourists milled about the plaza beneath the tower, which rises 276 metres over the river Seine.
"I come from Mexico and I am here for only two days, only to find out that the Eiffel Tower is closed and I won't be able to go," said Paolina Herrmann, a 22-year-old from Guadalajara.
Fikriya Akachar of Rotterdam rallied her family to come with her to the tower so she could experience it despite her fear of heights.
"We all came here, had some vacation days from work, and then they say no you cannot. I was disappointed," she said.
But Nicole and Michael Denning of Sydney said Paris remains a lovely city for tourists.
"It's still magnificent, so we are happy, very happy," Nicole Denning said.
"It is magnificent, it does not matter where you go," Michael Denning said. "We are pretty happy to be just walking around, enjoying the sights."