France to increase funding for museums and acquisitions in 2017 budget

The minister of culture, Audrey Azoulay, said she understands the “difficulties” museums face in the wake of terror attacks


France’s Minister of Culture and Communication, Audrey Azoulay, has pledged to “substantially” increase funding for French museums next year. “I know the difficulties confronting museums today, between a drop in attendance, particularly linked to the drop in tourism, and a rise in security expenses,” she said in her official speech on 28 September to present the department’s 2017 budget. As part of this, cultural funding will increase by 6.6% to a total of €2.9bn—the largest amount of government money promised for the arts in the country’s history.

Azoulay announced a 5% increase in funding to museums, and, notably, an increase of 12% for acquisitions budgets for regional and national museums. She said that museums security would be partly supported by an intra-ministerial fund. The government is also organising a conference on cultural tourism in December to try and revive the sector.

France’s tourism industry, which makes up around 7% of its gross domestic product, was shaken by the terrorist attacks in Paris last November that killed 130 people, and exacerbated by the Bastille Day attack in Nice this past July that killed 86 people. The BBC reported that there were 1 million fewer visitors to Paris from January to June this year than the same time in 2015, with an estimated loss in revenue of €750m. And while the Louvre was shaken by the terrorist attacks in Paris last November in 2015, its 8.6 million visitors is a noticeable drop from the 9.26 million visitors it reported for the 2014 calendar year.