The Eiffel Tower reopened to visitors on Friday after its closure for nine months due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The lifts of the “Iron Lady” again whisked tourists to its 300-metre (1,000-foot) summit and its majestic views of the French capital as a marching band played.
“It’s a gift to be here — We really love Paris,” according to Ila, who came from Hamburg, Germany, and waited more than two hours with her daughter Helena to be among the first to the top.
🇫🇷 Ça y est ! Après plus de 8 mois de fermeture je rouvre enfin mes portes. Quelle joie de vous retrouver 🤗
— La tour Eiffel (@LaTourEiffel) July 16, 2021
“Tourism is coming back to Paris and we can again share the happiness, with visitors from around the world, of this monument and Paris,” Jean-Francois Martins, head of the tower’s operating company, said.
In order to adhere to social distancing, daily capacity is set to be restricted to 13,000 people, about half of the normal level. And from Wednesday next week, visitors will need to show either proof of vaccination or a negative test, in line with recent government-imposed requirements as Covid cases again begin to climb.
“Obviously it’s an additional operational complication, but it’s manageable,” Martins told AFP.
— Eka Leladze (@leladze_eka) July 16, 2021
Early reservations for tickets during the summer holiday period show how the tourism industry in Paris has changed due to travel restrictions.
Martins said there was an “almost total absence” of British ticket holders, adding that there were only 15 percent Americans and very few are from Asia.
Half of visitors are expected to be French, while Italians and Spanish make up a higher proportion than usual.
The closure of Eiffel Tower has caused havoc with the finances of the operating company, Sete, which runs the monument on behalf of Paris city authorities.
Therefore, it is set to seek additional government aid and a fresh 60-million-euro cash injection to stay afloat, as its revenues fell by 75 percent to 25 million euros in 2020.