France : first touristic destination in the world

First touristic destination in the world with 83 millions of tourists in 2012, France keeps the first place while the tourism sector is quickly transforming regardless the emergence of new clientele and a bigger international touristic offer.

Today the growth of tourists is due to visitors coming from Asia and Europe. Germans are the most numerous tourists in France, before British. Countries which were first stricken by the economic crisis, like Ireland, Portugal or Greece are slowly coming back. Among Asians, Chinese are the first (1.5 million) to chose France for their holidays. Brazilians and Russians are more and more to come visit France.

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Mont Saint-Michel in Basse-Normandie, a very touristic place.


Tourism is an essential input for the external exchanges of France. Since 1999, tourism is the first sector in excess of the balance of payments. The touristic balance clearly increased from 7.5 billions in 2011 to 13 billions in 2012. The lengthening of the stays and the increase of nights in a commercial lodgings participated to the increase of the global financial gain (35.8 billion euros).

France’s touristic assets

France has many touristic assets : diversity of the landscape (coastline, city, coutry, mountain) and variety of the touristic products (lodging, activities, restauration).

  • France is the first destination for skiing (55 millions of day ski passes were sold).
  • Business tourism is also an important sector with 6081 events organized in 2011.
  • France is a cultural destination, many events within international range are organized: Marseille Provence 2013, Lille 3000, and also the opening of many museums : Pompidou Metz, Louvre Lens, Fondation Maeght, Le Voyage à Nantes and the opening of the MUCEM in Marseille last june. These big events have a great economic and social impacts, on the layout of the territory.
  • Wine tourism is also a dynamic sector with 24 millions of visits in the vinicultural areas.

Destinations like Paris, Côte d’Azur, Mont Saint-Michel are the best examples of the wealth, quality and diversity of the French offer. But more and more destinations worked on their offer to meet the expectations of international visitors. And now the whole Country attracts visitors.

Dernière modification : 04/11/2013

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