After nearly nine months of closure, the Eiffel Tower had “a beautiful month of October” thanks to a “real return of tourism” in the capital, welcomed the company operating the Eiffel Tower (Sete) this Thursday.
The Eiffel Tower, put in financial difficulty by the health crisis, regained pre-Covid attendance levels in October and resumed its painting project, which must be completed for the 2024 Olympic Games.
La Dame de Fer, which reopened in July after nearly nine months of closure, had “a beautiful month of October” thanks to a “real return of tourism” in the capital, welcomes the operating company of the Eiffel Tower (Sète) this Thursday.
An improvement that did not slow down the introduction of the health pass in the middle of summer. The Eiffel Tower, which offered antigenic tests for its visitors who did not have the precious QR code, stopped them on Sunday after having achieved 14,000 since July 21. Its summer attendance stood at 13,000 visitors per day, against 25,000 in the pre-Covid era, the target target taking into account a 50% gauge in elevators.
From 14,000 on weekend days in September, the number of visitors drew to more than 20,000 in October, “better than in 2019 on weekends”, indicates Sete, which observes a “return of nearby Europeans” and Americans, the latter now constituting 10% of the clientele.
But with 1.5 million visitors anticipated for 2021 against 6.2 million in 2019, this gradual recovery “will not cover the losses accumulated” with the crisis, according to the same source.
75 million euros in losses
Among the most visited paid monuments in the world, this symbol of France had to close from mid-March to the end of June 2020, during the first confinement, then again from the end of October 2020 to mid-July 2021. Consequence: Sete plans 75 million euros in losses for the current year, after a first deficit of 52 million for 2020.
Subject to a loan guaranteed by the State – 25 million euros – and a recapitalization of its main shareholder, the town hall of Paris, of nearly 60 million euros, the operator has made several requests for help, especially from the state. “Discussions are underway” with Matignon, he indicates.
Suspended since the beginning of February due to traces of lead above the regulatory threshold, the painting project in progress to resume on October 11 with a new protocol, also indicates Sete.
For the 20th painting campaign, which should allow the Iron Lady to regain a golden skin for the 2024 Olympic Games, it was chosen to remove the damaged paint sofas from nearly 30% of the surface of the building. , where the previous campaigns provided for only 5%, in order to “improve the adhesion of the paint to the structure”. It was stripping that brought out the presence of lead present in the previous layers.
Now, explains Sete, “the companions work in pairs on the picketing and scraping part: one stings and the other sucks up the paint residues to prevent their dispersion and limit the potential effects of lead”.
New U-shaped nets have been installed to secure work areas. Shot blasting, stripping of old sofas using projected balls to find the original puddled iron of Gustave Eiffel’s masterpiece, is currently resuming on the scaffolding installed on the Champ-de-Mars side.
La Sete, which still intends to complete this work in time for the Olympics, has decided, to catch up, to adapt its opening hours: extended on weekends and holidays, they are shortened in slower periods, indicates Sète. Some tasks also take place at night.