Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pedal Power

The strikers are costing the French economy big Euros, but one industry is making out like bandits:
The Paris region has taken the biggest brunt of the walkout, which has created a commuting nightmare along with an economic one.

For the Paris-area hotel sector, the movement amounts to a 20 percent to 50 percent drop in clientele according to the local hotel union. Theatres have been similarly hit.

Meanwhile, exhibition centres around the capital fear a longer-term impact.

"These kinds of events weaken us compared to the foreign competition," said Phillippe Bertin, director of client operations at the Paris-Nord Villepin centre, who estimates turnout at its four showrooms dropped 20 percent last week.

Even those who should be profiting from the strike -- notably taxi drivers -- complain traffic jams have scuttled their profits.

Still one business is booming: bicycles.

The sports chain Decathlon, for one, claims a surge in bicycles and cycling equipment sales in its Paris stores....

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