France – and in particular the capital – hasn’t had the best 12 months, but despite security concerns following the terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice, and a warning that Paris was ‘out of control’ and ‘dangerous’ by the US President, it seems that tourists are visiting the French capital in record numbers.
Figures published earlier this week by the CRT (Regional Tourism Authority) suggest that visitor numbers to Paris and the surrounding areas reached a ten-year high in the first half of 2017, with visitor numbers increasing by 14.6% over the same period last year, and Parisian hotels welcoming a decade-high of 16 million guests. Similar results have been coming in all over France too, with Q2 figures suggesting an overall improvement of 10.4% on last year in terms of hotel bookings, and France continuing to be popular with tourists.
The majority of the rise in visitors to the City of Lights came from the US and Asia (in particular China and Japan), with US visitors increasing by 20% over last year, while Japanese visitors increased by a sizeable 40.5%. On the flip side, travellers from the United Kingdom dipped by 1.7%, although there are suggestions that this is due to concerns around Brexit, rather than security fears.
This is obviously good news for the French capital, and comes shortly after the UNTWO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) confirmed that France has retained its crown as the world’s most popular destination for tourists. France welcomed 82.6 million visitors last year, putting it well ahead of the United States, who came in second with 75.6 million visits.
The good news continues to come for the French tourism industry too, with the French foreign ministry confirming that they expect over 88m visitors in 2017, and are committed to their 2014 prediction of welcoming 100m international tourist visits in 2020. There’s no doubt that France continues to be an incredibly popular tourist destination, and considering the history, architecture, culture, food, shopping and stunning beaches, it’s not particularly difficult to see why.