About 30-thousand French travel agents shut up shop and massed in the streets of paris on March 30 to protest against government restrictions which limit spending on foreign travel.
1. GV & SV Demonstrators going through streets with banners and placards and effigy of Statue of Liberty. 0.26
2. TOP SHOT PAN Demonstrators gathering in Place de l'Opera. (2 SHOTS) 0.46
3. GV Demonstrators in square carrying banners. (3 SHOTS) 1.00
4. SV Woman addressing the crowd. French SOT 1.18
5. TOP SHOT Demonstrators in square. 1.25
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Background: PARIS, FRANCE
About 30-thousand French travel agents shut up shop and massed in the streets of paris on March 30 to protest against government restrictions which limit spending on foreign travel. The restrictions were announced on March 25 as part of a revamped economic austerity package. They followed a cabinet reshuffle in President Francois Mitterrand's Socialist government, after the socialists' poor showing in recent local government elections. Travel agents feel the President has gone too far. One agent said it would be the end of the travel business, predicting half the country's agencies would be forced to close. One Frenchman in the demonstration said holidays were "sacred". He said the government could tamper with taxes, but not holidays. The new ten-point austerity plan, which includes new taxes, a force loan to the State and higher public utility costs, was introduced in an effort to reduce France's massive trade deficit. The foreign travel measure is the one most bitterly opposed. Adults will only be able to buy two-thousand francs (270 dollars) in foreign currency on presentation of a special exchange book. Children will be allowed half the amount. Adults will be limited to one thousand francs (135 dollars) in French money on each trip abroad. After the measures were announced, travel agents were inundated with a last-minute rush before the limits came into force. Many people wanted to cancel pre-booked holidays. The National Association of Travel Agents is still trying to negotiate with the government, saying the limits will spell disaster for one of France's healthiest industries.
Source: REUTERS - FREDERIC FABRE