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French Tourism Crashes By 35% Amid Virus Outbreak; Europe On Recession Watch

French Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, told CNBC’s Dan Murphy on Sunday at the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meetings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that the Covid-19 outbreak will have a material impact on the French economy and the world.

The country’s finance minister warned France’s tourism sector has plunged following the outbreak of the virus last month. “We have fewer tourists, of course, in France, about 30%, 40% less than expected,” Maire said.

“That’s, of course, an important impact for the French economy,” he said. Tourism represents 10% of GDP in the country and supports upwards of 3 million jobs.

Maire said France welcomed 2.7 million Chinese tourists last year, “It won’t be the same, of course, in 2020,” he said, referring to the more than 200,000 flight cancellations since the virus broke out in China last month.

France has reported 12 confirmed cases of the virus, and one death as the country “activates” 70 new hospitals in preparation for a much broader outbreak.

Following a Sunday meeting with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Health minister Olivier Veran said: “Until now we have had [only] 38 health establishments prepared to welcome ill people – basically university hospitals [centres hospitaliers universitaires; CHUs].”

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