Police in Paris have tightened security around tour groups visiting the capital.
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Leon Chen looks frazzled as he shepherds a group of Chinese tourists through the Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris, past stands stacked with luxury bags, perfume, jewelry and caviar. As a guide, he knows all too well that cash-flush visitors lugging bags of valuables are easy prey for muggers and pickpockets.In a statement Saturday the Chinese Embassy in France noted "several large-scale violent robberies" involving Chinese tourists recently in the country and urged them to exercise caution.Paris is the favorite European destination of the Chinese but France lost some of its lustre in 2015 and 2016, with three large-scale terror attacks dealing a severe blow to its carefree image.Chinese arrivals fell 23 percent in 2016 to 1.8 million, but tour operators and department stores said that by the summer of 2017 they were back in force, encouraged by the marked decline of bloodshed in the past year."Paris is ... very romantic!" a young woman in Chen's tour group said in halting English.But while tourists may have begun taking the continuing terror threat in their stride, crime could yet stymie France's ambition to attract 5 million Asian tourists annually by 2020 .
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