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The Copresence of Tourists and Residents as Central to the Resilience of Urban Tourism. An Analysis of the Champs Elysées Christmas Market Based on Survey and Mobile Phone Data

Marie Delaplace, Emmanuelle Gautherat et Leila Kebir
Cet article est une traduction de :
La coprésence des touristes et des habitants au cœur de la résilience du tourisme urbain. Une analyse du marché de Noël des Champs Elysées à partir de données d’enquêtes et des téléphones mobiles


Copresent in tourist destinations, tourists and residents are both in conflict and complementary. The aim of this article is to explore this copresence and complementarity with respect to the resilience of urban tourism during a particular urban event. We want to examine whether the copresence of different types of tourists and residents at this event is a factor in the resilience of the destination. The analysis is illustrated by a survey conducted at the Champs Elysées Christmas Market from December 7, 2015 to January 10, 2015, just after the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. These data are compared with data from mobile phones (Orange Flux Vision) acquired on the same Christmas mkt. in 2016. While the destination appears resilient in terms of visitor volumes, the structure of visits is nevertheless affected. The sensitivity of tourists to terrorist attacks varies according to their place of origin. In addition, the continuing presence of residents – but also of certain French tourists – at the Market in the period following the terrorist attack, partly absorbed the shock caused by the sharp fall in the presence of foreign tourists, until their numbers recovered. However, there are certain differences between the habits and practices of residents and tourists, which raise questions about the market’s capacity to adapt.

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1Tourists and inhabitants in tourist destinations can sometimes be at odds, since turning these places into tourist attractions can generate conflicts in the use of land, property or transport. However, tourists and residents are also complementary, for example in matters of accommodation or eating places. Tourists mingle with residents working or eating in certain restaurants, and residents sometimes provide accommodation for tourists. Cultural or sporting events that attract tourists are also sometimes enjoyed by local people. Moreover, by helping to increase the demand for goods and services in a given area, tourism ensures the viability of some activities that might not be viable without it.

  • 1 The 2015 survey was initiated before those attacks, so the issue of resilience was not one of our i (...)

2The aim of this article is to show that the copresence of tourists and residents of different kinds is a factor of resilience for the cities concerned as tourist destinations. The analysis will be illustrated by a survey conducted on the Christmas Market on the Champs Elysées from December 7, 2015 to January 10, 2016, just after the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris.. These data will be compared with the data generated by mobile phones (Flux Vision) collected at the Christmas market in 2016.1

3In the first section, we will explore resilience in the context of urban tourism. We will then go on to illustrate the analysis through the survey conducted at the 2015 Champs Elysées Christmas Market and by analysing data produced by mobile phones connected to the Orange telecommunications network, collected between the end of November 2016 and mid-January 2017. 

1. The resilience of urban tourism: aspects of conceptualisation

4The word resilience comes from the Latin word resilire which means to rebound, and was used for the first time by Francis Bacon in 1626 (Kurtz, 2014, 1057). Since then, the term resilience has been applied in many domains.

1.1. Multiple definitions of resilience

  • 2 C.M. Hall (2016)

5Resilience first appeared in engineering and materials science. It then developed in the field of ecology. Holling defines it as “the measure of the persistence of systems and of their ability to absorb change and disturbance and still maintain the same relationships between populations or state variables” (Holling, 1973, 17). Its use then extended into other sciences and other domains, leading to a proliferation of definitions that vary from one disciplinary framework to another: psychology, but also urban design, spatial planning and more recently tourism. The term “resilience” can therefore be applied to a product, an individual, an organisation, a community, a destination, a region, a system, etc. for example, in an analysis conducted in 2016 of the occurrences of the term resilience in titles, abstracts and keywords in academic journals,2 C.M. Hall demonstrates the extensive and multidisciplinary expansion of its use in many domains (medicine, computer science, engineering, etc.). However, its spread in the social sciences was slower. Hall (2016) identifies only two occurrences in this field before 1960, out of the 51 found across all disciplines. The term resilience as applied to a society, a human group, was borrowed from ecology, defined as,  “the ability of groups or communities to cope with external stresses and disturbances, while maintaining their functional characteristics and defined identity” (Adger, 2000, cited par Biggs, 2012, 646).

6This multiplicity of fields of application creates problems of definition. These problems are all the greater in that resilience is simultaneously a capacity, a process and a result. For example, Boschma (2010) defines resilience as the capacity of a region not only to adapt after a shock, but also to develop new growth pathways. Resilience relates to the capacity for renewal following exposure to risks. So resilience and stability are different, insofar as resilience does not entail a return to the initial state.

1.2. Resilience and tourism

7As for associations between resilience and tourism, they emerged only in the period 1990-1994. C. M. Hall (2016) found only 10 occurrences before the 2000s. From this date onward, however, its incidence in publications grew significantly, with references to ecosystems (166 occurrences out of 337) and to communities (115) with a focus on economic aspects (165), politics and spatial planning (115) and sustainability (107).

8Biggs et al. (2012, 647) define a resilient tourist company as one “able to remain in a stable state, maintaining or growing its income and employee numbers despite disturbance”.

9By extension, we will define the resilience of a tourist destination as the capacity of that destination to adapt to a shock, whether external or internal, and to continue to attract tourists.

10Touristic resilience can be one of the aspects of the resilience of a city, which can be defined as that city’s capacity to maintain itself or grow regardless the activities within it. However, a city can be resilient as a city but not as a tourist destination, by developing other activities.

  • 3 We will not enter into the debates over whether or not the terrorism of today takes specific forms (...)

11In this article, we propose to analyse a form of shock, terrorism, which can be defined as “the commission of criminal acts, usually violent, that target civilians or violate conventions of war when targeting military personnel; and that are committed at least partially for social, political, or religious ends” (Agnew, 2010, p.132).3 Even more specifically, we will restrict ourselves to mass terrorism (as against terrorist acts that affect one person in particular).

12Terrorism is different from other shocks. It is a one-off but repeatable event, which can be aimed at any tourist destination. This is because groups of international travellers provide a certain form of camouflage for terrorists, while at the same time offering numerous targets. “Terrorists can circulate among travellers and carry out financial transactions in foreign currencies without arousing suspicion (Richter and Waugh 1986)” – (Sonmez et al. 1999, 14). Moreover, when tourists of different nationalities are affected, attacks carried out in tourist destinations receive extensive publicity (Weimann and Winn 1994, p. 143, cited by Sonmez et al., 1999). Finally, tourists can be a target because of the values and behaviours they represent.

13Such terrorism has effects on the image of the destination – but also on destinations that are geographically and symbolically close – which are likely to prompt tourists to choose other destinations. “When tourism ceases to be pleasurable due to actual or perceived risks, tourists exercise their freedom and power to avoid risky situations or destinations.” (Sönmez et al., 1999, 13).

1.3. How resilient are urban tourist destinations?

14Like any tourist destination, cities that attract tourists can be affected by the risks of terrorism, as demonstrated by the recent attacks in Berlin, Istanbul, London, Marrakesh, New York, Nice, Paris, Tunis, etc. Very big cities are particularly at risk, since terrorists seek to maximise the number of victims, both residents and tourists. Because of the size of their populations, therefore, tourist cities are preferred targets. The capacity of urban tourism to recover, to handle risks of this kind, is what we call its resilience.

  • 4

15In his analysis of the occurrences of the term “resilience” in the field of tourism,4 Hall shows that – with the exception of mountain tourism – urban tourism is the form of tourism in which the word occurs the least. In other words, there have been few analyses of the resilience of this form of tourism.

16The argument that we wish to develop is that urban tourism possesses features that permit a certain form of resilience.

17First, urban tourism developed significantly at the end of the 20th century, and has been a subject of research since the late 1980s (Law, 1992). However, for a long time it remained quite poorly defined, despite the fact that cities are key tourist destinations. Scholars concentrated either on tourism, or on cities, but without linking them together (Ashworth, 2012). “Prefixing the adjective urban to the noun tourism gives the activity a spatial context but does not in itself define or explain that activity” (Ashworth, 2012, 1). Cities offer a wide variety of attractions, and therefore a variety of purposes for visiting and hence in the forms of tourism. The most we can postulate is that urban tourism is “all the tourist resources and activities present in the city, excluding stations, and available to outside visitors (…) for purposes of leisure, business and other ends” (Vighetti, 1994). It covers a variety of activities ( visits to museums and monuments, gastronomic experiences, shopping, events, etc.). “The city is not a traditional consumer good” (Cazes and Potier, 1996, 38). Its consumption generates different utilities for different people and depending on their reasons for visiting.

18Second, and except in the case of museum cities, cities are rarely dependent on tourism alone. They may accommodate many other activities. For example, while Paris is an important tourist destination, it is also home to numerous company headquarters and government departments. So cities are places of work. But they are also places of leisure and day-to-day life for residents. Urban tourist destinations are also “destinations” for the people who live in the cities. In addition, other tourist-centred activities or facilities can then become activities or facilities for residents. For example, the Stade de France – built for the 1998 soccer World Cup – attracted many sports tourists, but it was also converted into a watersports resort in summer. Similarly, the Olympic Games to be held in Paris in 2024 need to be considered in terms of their legacy of amenities for resident populations.

19Third, what characterises urban tourism is by definition the fact that tourists and city residents mingle. More precisely, residents often help to generate urban events that moreover are not solely intended for tourists. So cultural events are a tool that both attracts tourists and benefits local populations. Festivals and other events bring in not just tourists, but also residents. And the residents remain present even if the tourists temporarily stay away.

  • 5 For example, a study conducted on adherence to malaria prevention treatments shows that the degree (...)

20Finally, urban destinations are characterised by short stays (Vighetti, 1994), which are in fact becoming shorter. For example, in 1990 and in France the average length of stay in cities was 6.5 days, compared with 8.7 days for the mountains, 9.2 for the countryside, 9.5 for touring trips and 10 for seaside tourism (Cazes and Potier, 1996). Today, it is 3.8 days in Paris, 4.5 in the countryside, 6.7 in ski resorts, 5.3 in the mountains excluding ski resorts (DGE, 2016). The reduction in the average length of stay may reduce tourists’ perception of the risks of visiting a destination.5

21These different characteristics are likely to give urban tourism a certain form of resilience.

2. The resilience of urban tourism: The case of the Champs Elysées Christmas Market

2.1. Location and activity of the Christmas Market

22The Christmas Market on the Champs Elysées, which was created in 2009, is located on the famous Avenue in the 8th arrondissement in Paris. In 2016 and 2015 it occupied both sides of the road from the Champs Elysées-Marcel-Dassault Roundabout (métro Franklin Roosevelt) to place de la Concorde (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Location and components of the Christmas Market

Figure 1. Location and components of the Christmas Market

Source: Google Earth

  • 6 (...)

23The Champs Elysées Christmas Market is an attraction within the tourist attraction of the Champs Elysées itself, which is itself at the heart of Paris as a tourist destination. According to the media, this event brings in more than 15 million visitors.6 However, there are no official data confirming or contradicting this figure. Indeed, measuring footfall at an open and nonpaying event like this is complex.

24In 2015, the Market ran from November 13, 2015 to January 10, 2016, with an interruption from November 14-19 following the terrorist attacks of Friday, November 13, 2015. It reopened on November 20. Moreover, though initially set to close on January 3, it was extended to compensate for the difficult week that followed the attacks, and therefore ended on January 10, 2016. It was open from 12 noon to 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays, and from noon to midnight from Sunday to Thursday.

25Since its creation, it was organised by a fairground entrepreneur, in close concert with the Mayor of Paris. Since 2015, the contract has been subject to a tendering process, under which the Christmas Market is covered by a two-year CODP (public domain occupancy agreement), which can be renewed twice. The operator pays a fee of €700,000 per year to the City of Paris. The opening of the market is authorised by a safety committee which approves the measures taken by the operator to fulfil the recommendations of the Prefect of Police. The market stalls are proposed by the operator and approved by the City of Paris.

26As with many Christmas markets, it consists of chalet stalls (180 in 2015, i.e. 30 more than in 2014) where people can eat, buy gastronomic and craft items, party goods and souvenirs. It also has fairground rides, a village of charity organisations and a variety of attractions (miniature train, skating rink, magic forest).

27In 2016, it opened on November 11 and was initially due to stay open until January 8, but finally closed on the evening of January 3, 2017. In 2017 and 2018 the Champs Elysées Christmas Market did not take place, since the Mayor had cancelled the agreement with Marcel Campion, the market’s operator.

28In November 2015, Paris experienced terrorist attacks that significantly affected arrivals in the region and hence the number of visitors to the market.

2.2. Hotel arrivals in Île-de-France down for almost the whole of 2016

29International arrivals in hotels in Île-de-France fell by almost 1.38 million in 2016, whereas the number of French arrivals shrunk by only 138,000 (Figure 2).

30Over the whole year 2016, the tourist destination Paris Île-de-France provided hotel accommodation for almost 31 million arrivals. This figure was down by 4.7% compared with 2015 because of a drop in international customers (-8.8%). Over the same period, the number of French tourists fell only slightly (-0.8%).

31While it had grown substantially since 2011, the number of international visitors travelling for business also fell by 5.2% in 2015 (compared with 2013), while the number of French visitors declined by only 3.8% (CCIP, 2016). By contrast, numbers grew strongly again from 2016 (OTCP, 2017). According to CCIP (2016), “the economic impact of the attacks was assessed at €62 million, of which €48 million concerned transport, hotels, restaurants and department stores”.

Figure 2. Arrivals in hotels in Île-de-France (in thousands)

Figure 2. Arrivals in hotels in Île-de-France (in thousands)

Source: the authors on the basis of INSEE data

32An analysis of the monthly trends from 2014 to 2016 (Figure 3) shows a big drop in arrivals at the end of 2015, causing a reversal of the growth trend of previous years, a process that continued in 2016.

Figure 3. Monthly trends in foreign and French arrivals in Île-de-France hotels (in thousands)

Figure 3. Monthly trends in foreign and French arrivals in Île-de-France hotels (in thousands)

Source, the authors on the basis of OTCP data

33So in November 2015, the number of international arrivals fell by 4.9% compared with November 2014, to 944,000. In December 2015, however, the fall was very large (-22.6%), down to 904,000 arrivals as compared with 1,168,000 in December 2014 and 1,174,000 in December 2013. And in January, international arrivals continued to fall, to only 762,000. The last time the figure had been so low was in 2010. Moreover, it was not until November 2016 that foreign hotel arrivals began to pick up again, though in December they had not yet returned to their pre-2015 levels.

34As for French arrivals, while they fell more sharply in November (-7.4%), declining to 1,313,000 in November 2015 as compared with 1,418,000 and 2014, the decline was also 7.4% in December 2015. This decline slowed very quickly and growth relative to the same month in 2015 resumed in October 2016. There was therefore a strong rebound in the number of nights spent in French hotels in Île-de-France, particularly by French guests, in the final quarter of 2016 (INSEE, 2017). Finally, from November 2016, the Office du Tourisme et des Congrès de Paris (Paris tourist and conference office) noted a recovery in tourist activity to 2014 levels. So hotel arrivals increased by 12.5% in November-December 2016 compared with the same period in 2015. This added up to 581,000 more arrivals than in 2015, and 60,000 more tourists compared with 2014 (OTCP, 2017).

35As a tourist destination, therefore, Paris-Ile de France would seem relatively resilient both in the very short-term with respect to French tourists, and in the short-term for international visitors. What about the Champs Elysées Christmas Market?

2.3. Methodology for the analysis of databases relating to the Christmas Market

36In order to analyse footfall and changes in footfall at the Christmas Market, two databases were constructed: one based on a face-to-face survey conducted at the Christmas Market in 2015 (BEMN) and the other consisting of data from the mobile phone network operator Orange’s mobile phone database in 2016 (BTM).

2.3.1. The database from the face-to-face survey conducted in 2015-2016 and its limitations

37A first survey was conducted for 5 weeks from December 7, 2015 to January 10, 2016 in order to identify the types of visitors present at the market (French and international tourists, residents of the city and region, daytrippers, etc.) and their practices. The aim was to find out their reasons for being at the market (shopping, sightseeing, atmosphere), the nature of their spending and, for tourists, the type of accommodation and the methods of transport used to get to the market (TGV, car, coach, train, metro, etc.). So the first three weeks of the Christmas Market were not covered.

  • 7 Except on December 9 and 10, 24, 25, 26 and 29 and on January 4 and 5.

38The questionnaires were administered at different times of the day and, to a lesser degree, in the evening up to 9 pm and sometimes 11 pm, every day including weekends.7 The interviewers positioned themselves at two specific places, located on either side of the market (see Figure 1). People were interviewed randomly without the application of any age, sex, social category or nationality criteria. Each questionnaire took approximately five minutes to complete. Everyone who passed in front of the interviewer was approached. In the end, 800 questionnaires were collected in the Christmas Market survey database (BEMN).

39As is the case with all the face-to-face surveys, the BEMN database probably underestimates the number of international visitors. This is because this group, particularly Asian visitors, were disinclined to answer a questionnaire given the difficult circumstances in Paris. This means that the number of international visitors was probably higher.

40In addition, stallholders and the market operator were also interviewed.

2.3.2. The database from the “Flux Vision” data acquired from the Orange mobile phone network and its limitations

41In 2016-2017, we collected “Flux Vision” data (Base Terminaux Mobiles – Btm) which enabled us to obtain the number of individual visitors over 1 day, 2 days, etc. The period covered was from November 20 to January 15. These data were collected from Orange terminals in predefined zones (Figure 4) with, from left to right, Arc de Triomphe (mauve), Avenue Georges V (pink), Grand Palais (purple) and Concorde (orange), and then estimated for all network operators (including roaming for international operators) on the basis of Orange’s market share.

42We restricted the study of the Btm data to the perimeter of the Christmas Market, i.e. the purple Grand Palais zone (second from the right).

  • 8 These are cultural sites like Grand Palais of course, but also Palais de la découverte, Petit Palai (...)

43However, this zone extends well outside the perimeter of the Christmas Market and encompasses places that are inherently very busy,8 with no necessary connection to the Christmas Market. For example, a large number of buildings along the main arteries (Avenue des Champs-Elysées, Avenue Montaigne, Avenue de Marigny) are occupied by offices. The remaining buildings in the adjacent streets are mainly occupied by households and hotels. As a result, all the mobile phones that connect to the antenna for the Grand Palais zone are included in the Btm database, though one cannot be sure that the people concerned came to the Christmas Market. This background noise varies in intensity depending on the day of the week, and differs depending on the category of visitor. It is therefore impossible to remove it.

Figure 4. Zones covered by Orange Flux Vision

Figure 4. Zones covered by Orange Flux Vision

44Moreover, the Btm data identify visitors from the information provided by the subscriber. All business subscriptions are therefore excluded. In addition, no one under the age of 18 can be identified. The database therefore underestimates this age group, while conversely the people who pay the subscriptions for the youngest users (parents aged 35-60) are overrepresented. This is also true for young adults, such as students, the majority of whom have their phone subscriptions paid by their parents. Young adults are therefore underrepresented and their parents overrepresented. Conversely, individuals who only use their business mobiles will not be present in the Btm survey. It can be assumed that they are mostly working people over the age of 30. This means that this age group is also underrepresented in the survey. However, we can assume firstly that most of the individuals who have a business phone also have a personal phone, and secondly that the number of people for whom this is not the case is small. It is also assumed that the number of people with several mobile phones on individual subscription packages is negligible.

45To sum up: 1/ minors are excluded from the Btm survey and young adults are underestimated in the survey; parents of these two categories are overrepresented; 2/ the distortions caused by the absence of data from business mobiles are ignored.

2.4. The main findings

  • 9 In 2015, no systematic count was done, so no comparison is possible.

46The Orange Flux Vision data collected in 2015 can be used to estimate footfall in the Market in two ways.9

2.4.1. Total footfall

  • 10 Since the data are available for a maximum of one month, we had to reconstruct two sub-periods, whi (...)

47First, it is possible to calculate the total number of individual visitors to the area over the whole period. A visitor is only counted once his or her mobile phone connects to the network several times in the same period. Indeed, the Flux Vision data can provide a total of individual visitors over the 15 days or 1 month preceding a given date. We reconstructed the whole period, but divided it into two sub-periods. In all, we estimate the number of people who visited the 2016-2017 Christmas Market zone at least once at 3,024,066, consisting of 625,872 Parisians, 1,122,201 visitors from Île-de-France excluding Paris, 601,777 French tourists and daytrippers from outside Île-de-France, and 674,223 international tourists and daytrippers. This figure is overstated insofar as all the people present in the zone are counted, including workers and residents and people who have come to shop, and some are counted twice.10 On the other hand, it is reduced by the impossibility of counting people without a mobile phone or with a business phone only.

48Second, it is possible to count the people present in the area every day. The data were collected over the period from Sunday, November 20 to January 3. To assess the number of people present from November 10 to November 20, we used the daily figures from Sunday, November 27 to Saturday, December 3 (a relatively similar period), for the three categories of visitors (Parisian residents, French tourists and international tourists). This projection indicates a total of 6,399,693 residents over the whole market, 12,695,708 French tourists and 7,001,626 international tourists, i.e. a total of 26,097,027 visitors.

49This figure is an upper limit, since it includes all the people present for each day. A person may be counted several times if their telephone connects to the Orange terminal in the zone for several days running.

50As a result, the two estimates come up with extremely different results, and results that are also different from the the official visitor figure lion).

51What about the types of people present?

2.4.2. The alteration in the types of people present at the 2015-2016 and the 2016-2017 Christmas Markets

52The analysis of two databases of different kinds entails distortions that required a time adjustment and a redefinition of the visitor categories. Time adjustment

  • 11 We should have stopped the data in the btm database on Tuesday, January 5, 2016, but since no surve (...)

53In order to make the relative periods of the two databases comparable, we restricted the start of the study of the mobile phone data to Monday, December 5, 2017. Moreover, since the market was closed on Tuesday, January 3, 2017, we restricted the data from the 2015-2016 Christmas Market Survey Database (Bemn) to the period from Monday, December 7, 2015 to Wednesday, January 6, 2016.11 We therefore have data over a period of four and a half weeks. This restriction allows us to ignore any effects associated with the ‘opening’ and ‘closing’ of the market. Reclassification of visitors

  • 12 A person is considered to have spent the night in a zone when he or she is present in that zone bet (...)
  • 13 But it is not always the case. Some of the data could therefore not be recoded, but such data was n (...)

54The two data sources sometimes use the same vocabulary to refer to visitors of different kinds. In particular, the distinctions applied to residents, daytrippers and tourists to do not always match. The Btm databases take visitors whose billing address is “Paris” to be residents. Those whose billing address is in France but not in Paris, are considered to be French tourists if they spent one night in Paris before or after the date their presence at the market was registered, but as daytrippers if they did not spend the previous or next night in Paris.12 When the billing address is outside France, they are tourists (if they spend at least one night in the city) or international daytrippers. Adopting this definition for residents is a problem, since people who live in Île-de-France and come into Paris every day to work are considered to be French daytrippers. On certain files provided by the operator, the billing départements are known. It is therefore possible to redefine these categories by extending the notion of resident to individuals whose billing address is in Île-de-France.13

55These points having been made, several results can nevertheless be derived from the analysis of these two databases. Relatively more visitors in 2015 from Île-de-France and Paris, as well as French tourists

56Being located on the Champs Elysées, we thought that this market attracted more tourists, but that is not true. The face-to-face survey (Bemn) revealed strong attendance by residents, in the unquestionably difficult and unexpected conditions of the post-attack period in November 2015 (497, i.e. 69.3% of visitors, consisting of 30.4% Paris residents and 38.9% Île-de-France residents), compared with 7.6% international tourists and daytrippers (respectively 52 and 2) and 23.2% French tourists and daytrippers (respectively 126 and 40) (see Figure 5).

Figure 5. The different types of visitors present at the market (in %)

Figure 5. The different types of visitors present at the market (in %)
  • 14 Verbatim from one of the stallholders.

57The interviews with stallholders also revealed that, in 2015, “There has been a real drop in tourist numbers and … yet what is strange, is that there has been a drop in tourist numbers and I think that there were more French people.”14

58According to another restaurant stallholder at the market, the usual proportion is 40% international visitors, regardless of the period (daytime-weekend). But this year, there were fewer of them (20% international). He said his revenues were down 40% – fewer customers and in particular more local visitors who have the option to eat at home before or after. Finally, according to the operator, “Well, there has been a fall in international tourists. We had French tourists but we had 25% fewer tourists than in previous years.”

59On the other hand, the 2016-2017 data from the Btm database over an equivalent period show that Paris residents accounted for 23.69% of the people who had visited the zone covered by the Grand Palais antenna, Île-de-France residents 34.2%, i.e. a total of 57.9%, a lower percentage than in 2015-2016. International tourists and daytrippers respectively accounted for 17.36% and 7.46% of this population, i.e. a much higher percentage than in 2015 (7.6%). For their part, French daytrippers and French tourists represented respectively 4.88% and 11.81%, i.e. a lower percentage than in 2015-2016 (23.2%).

  • 15 Having not counted the number of people present in the market, we cannot provide raw data for 2015 (...)

60So, in 2015, just after the terrorist attacks, residents and people living Île-de-France, as well as French tourists, are relatively overrepresented.15 In 2016, on the other hand, international tourists and daytrippers had come back, whereas French tourists, and to a lesser degree Paris residents and residents of Île-de-France, are relatively less well represented (in percentage terms). In other words, the presence of residents, people from Île-de-France and French tourists, seems to demonstrate a certain form of resilience in the Christmas Market after the attacks. Their presence at this market partly offset the relative paucity of international tourists and daytrippers.

61A breakdown between administrative departments in Île-de-France shows that in 2015 the departments with the highest representation were Hauts de Seine, Essonne and Seine Saint Denis, whereas in 2016 while people from Hauts de Seine were still the most numerous, people from Essonne were markedly less present, followed in descending order by the departments of Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, then Yvelines The data collection method in 2016, which does not distinguish individuals who are connected to the antenna but present for work purposes, probably explains this.

62If break the numbers down into , then significant differences emerge, notably for Basse Normandie, Brittany and Midi-Pyrénées, whose residents were very present in 2015 but less so in 2016 (Figure 6). The relative numbers of tourists from these regions was therefore higher in 2015. This would suggest that the region of origin of tourists affects the very short-term resilience of Paris to terrorist attacks.

Figure 6. French tourists and daytrippers by region (in %)

Figure 6. French tourists and daytrippers by region (in %)

63In addition, an analysis of international tourism and day trips reveals very different trends, suggesting that the resilience of the destination varies according to the origins of the visitors. So the face-to-face interviews showed very strong presence for visitors from Belgium, the UK and Germany, while the data taken from the mobile terminals revealed a higher proportion of visitors from Italy, the United States and the Netherlands (Figure 7).

  • 16 And this is not linked with visa restrictions for people of Algerian nationality, since the number (...)

64Visitors from countries like Belgium, Algeria,16 Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and, to a lesser degree, Germany, Spain, Australia, Austria, Greece and the United Arab Emirates, were present at the market in relatively lower numbers in 2016, whereas countries like Italy, the Netherlands, the Asian countries, and also the USA, accounted for a relatively higher presence in 2016. It can therefore be hypothesised that visitors from certain countries are less inclined in the very short-term to come to countries where acts of terrorism have recently taken place, but nevertheless return fairly quickly. Tourists from other countries, on the other hand, would seem to be ready to come regardless after terrorist actions.

Figure 7. International tourists and daytrippers per country (in %)

Figure 7. International tourists and daytrippers per country (in %)

65It would seem, therefore, that French and international tourists differ in their response to terrorist acts depending on their regional and national origins. Although the analyses do not provide explanations, one possible reason is solidarity towards residents of the cities affected by such events.

66While the distortions associated with the face-to-face survey may partly explain the overrepresentation of Belgian tourists in particular (many of whom speak French), the data collected by the OTCP on international hotel arrivals across Île-de-France also show different forms of resilience (Figure 8). Belgian tourists in particular seem to be present in almost equivalent numbers in 2015 and 2016.

Figure 8. International hotel arrivals in Île-de-France per country (in thousands)

Figure 8. International hotel arrivals in Île-de-France per country (in thousands)

67An analysis of Figure 8 shows very clearly that international arrivals in hotels in the Paris region varied significantly between the two years, and differently from country to country.

68In 2016, and compared with 2015, the biggest falls were among Italian, Russian, Japanese and Australian visitors, while Italians seem to be better represented at the Christmas Market in 2016 than they were in 2015 (Figure 7). Conversely, the number of visitors from the Middle East and Africa fell by a smaller amount than the overall decline, or even rose.

69However, presence is not the only factor to take into account in assessing the resilience of a destination. The impact on spending of differences in resilience according to visitor origins

70The fluctuations observed in the origins of the visitors are not neutral in terms of the money spent at the market. This is because visitors from different places have different spending habits (see Figure 9). Overall, tourists have more generous spending plans than residents of Paris or Île-de-France.

Figure 9. Distribution of spending plans per visitor types

Figure 9. Distribution of spending plans per visitor types

Source: the authors on the basis of the BEMN database

71As regards spending intentions, 20% of residents intend to spend nothing, 35% between 0 and 20 euros, whereas 30% of French tourists and 34% of international tourists expect to spend between 21 and 50 euros, and respectively 21% and 24% between 51 and 100 euros. Finally, only a few French and international tourists plan to spend more than 200 euros.

72So the destination attracts residents and French tourists. The question then is whether larger number of residents with more modest spending patterns represent as much spending as fewer international tourists with higher spending budgets.

73Moreover, there are also differences in the type of spending between categories.

74While some 50% of residents and of the different types of tourists spend primarily on restaurants (Figure 10), a larger percentage of international tourists and daytrippers (respectively 29.7% and 100%) and French tourists and daytrippers (respectively 33.6% and 34.9%) spend on crafts, souvenirs and the purchase of regional products, while only 13.10% of residents spend on crafts and 9.4% on souvenirs. Thus, the resilience of the Christmas Market is also likely to be dependent on the capacity of the stallholders to cope with a fall in the demand for their specific offerings.

75While the restaurant stalls seem to suffer less from a drop in international visitors, that is not the case for the stalls specialising in craft items, souvenirs and regional products.

Figure 10. Distribution of visitors according to intended spending type (distinction between residents and nonresidents)

Source: the authors on the basis of the BEMN database

76So both residents and tourists display behaviours that are in some ways similar, and in some ways different at the Christmas Market, something that must also be taken into account in analysing the resilience of the destination.


77In this article, we examine the resilience of urban tourism to terrorist acts, by analysing the relative presence of tourists and residents at the Christmas Market on the Champs Elysées. So, while Liu and Pratt (2017), in an article published in Tourism Management, state that overall  “there is no long run effect of terrorism on international tourism and the short run effect of terrorism on international tourism is quite small ...,  international tourism is resilient to terrorism”, our initial findings tend to show that, while this resilience seems to be real in terms of tourist traffic at the destination, it nevertheless has an effect on the structure of tourist footfall, in particular as a consequence of practices and behaviour patterns. In fact, the analysis of the Parisian case shows that the sensitivity of tourists to the risk of terrorism varies according to their place of origin. The structure of demand after the event is thus different, which can have an effect on supply (changes in the welcome offered to visitors, in usage and practices, etc.). This resilience relies on the complementarity of patterns of use between residents and tourists. The continuing presence at the market of Paris residents, but also of certain French tourists, in the period following the attack, absorbed some of the shock arising from the sharp decline in the numbers of foreign tourists, until those numbers recovered. However, the ways in which residents and tourists use the market can be different, especially in terms of spending patterns (preference for certain stalls and globally lower levels of spending), which causes a shockwave that negatively affects certain segments of the market.

78To conclude, the research demonstrates the need, when analysing the resilience of tourist areas, to take into account how those areas are used and, in particular, the complementarity effects between residents and tourists. It also shows the need to consider how the behaviour of tourists differs according to their place of origin and their sensitivity to the risk of terrorism.

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1 The 2015 survey was initiated before those attacks, so the issue of resilience was not one of our initial research questions.

2 C.M. Hall (2016)

3 We will not enter into the debates over whether or not the terrorism of today takes specific forms that demands a different description, e.g. “new terrorism” (cf. Spencer, 2004).


5 For example, a study conducted on adherence to malaria prevention treatments shows that the degree of observance (i.e. how strictly a patient applies medical prescriptions) is inversely correlated with length of stay (Dambry, 2009).


7 Except on December 9 and 10, 24, 25, 26 and 29 and on January 4 and 5.

8 These are cultural sites like Grand Palais of course, but also Palais de la découverte, Petit Palais, Le Théâtre de la Ville–Espace Pierre Cardin,  Le théâtre Marigny, le théâtre du rond-point etc.; professional media spaces - Studio Gabriel, RTL; mostly luxury or top of the range restaurants - Pavillon Ledoyen-Yannick Alléno, studio Gabriel, restaurant Laurent, restaurant Lasserre, Le Clarence, etc.; places of accommodation, also high-end – Hôtel d’Argenson, La réserve Hôtel & Spa Paris  etc.; luxury, high-end or branded clothes shops – Zadig & Voltaire, Adidas, Gucci, Elie Saab, ST Dupont, Dolce & Gabana, Loewe, Marni, Céline, Chanel, Dior, Versace etc.; family spaces like the Petit Palais and Champs-Elysées gardens, or the very popular puppet theatre.

9 In 2015, no systematic count was done, so no comparison is possible.

10 Since the data are available for a maximum of one month, we had to reconstruct two sub-periods, which could result in double counting, especially in the case of residents.

11 We should have stopped the data in the btm database on Tuesday, January 5, 2016, but since no surveys were done on January 4 and 5, we extended until January 6 in order to have structurally comparable periods. In fact, the time effects (rhythm of the week and of the times a day) are such that it seemed appropriate to make the number of weeks and the days of the week coincide.

12 A person is considered to have spent the night in a zone when he or she is present in that zone between midnight and 6 am and was not present in another zone during that period.

13 But it is not always the case. Some of the data could therefore not be recoded, but such data was not used here.

14 Verbatim from one of the stallholders.

15 Having not counted the number of people present in the market, we cannot provide raw data for 2015 and compare them with those of 2016.

16 And this is not linked with visa restrictions for people of Algerian nationality, since the number of visas granted rose from 364,000 in 2015 to 410,000 in 2016 (French Embassy in Algeria).

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1. Location and components of the Christmas Market
Crédits Source: Google Earth
Fichier image/jpeg, 180k
Titre Figure 2. Arrivals in hotels in Île-de-France (in thousands)
Crédits Source: the authors on the basis of INSEE data
Fichier image/png, 8,9k
Titre Figure 3. Monthly trends in foreign and French arrivals in Île-de-France hotels (in thousands)
Crédits Source, the authors on the basis of OTCP data
Fichier image/png, 19k
Titre Figure 4. Zones covered by Orange Flux Vision
Fichier image/png, 635k
Titre Figure 5. The different types of visitors present at the market (in %)
Fichier image/png, 22k
Titre Figure 6. French tourists and daytrippers by region (in %)
Fichier image/png, 30k
Titre Figure 7. International tourists and daytrippers per country (in %)
Fichier image/png, 39k
Titre Figure 8. International hotel arrivals in Île-de-France per country (in thousands)
Fichier image/png, 15k
Titre Figure 9. Distribution of spending plans per visitor types
Crédits Source: the authors on the basis of the BEMN database
Fichier image/png, 35k
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Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Marie Delaplace, Emmanuelle Gautherat et Leila Kebir, « The Copresence of Tourists and Residents as Central to the Resilience of Urban Tourism. An Analysis of the Champs Elysées Christmas Market Based on Survey and Mobile Phone Data », Études caribéennes [En ligne], 2 | Novembre 2018, mis en ligne le 15 novembre 2018, consulté le 21 juin 2021. URL : ; DOI :

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Marie Delaplace

Université de Paris Est Marne la Vallée, Lab’Urba – EUP,

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Emmanuelle Gautherat

Regards, Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne

Leila Kebir

EIVP, Lab’Urba,

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Les contenus d’Études caribéennes sont mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale 4.0 International.

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