11 April 2016

France remains the world's leading tourist destination

In 2015, France was once again ranked the world's leading tourist destination with a record of 84.5 million foreign visitors. These are excellent figures, showing an increase of 0.9%. The goal is to receive 100 million visitors by 2020.

Content published under the Government Valls III from 2016 11th February to 2016 06th December
In 2015, France was once again ranked the world's leading tourist destination with a record of 84.5 million foreign visitors. The number of international visitors has even surpassed the 85 million mark if the overseas regions are included, although consolidated statistics are not yet available.

Among France's foreign visitors:
  • The number of Asian visitors rose spectacularly by 22.7% last year. Since 2014, the visa issuance process for Chinese, Indian and Singaporean visitors has been reduced to 48 hours. This measure led to a 38% rise in the number of visas issued to Chinese nationals in 2015. As a result, the number of Chinese tourists has surpassed the significant 2 million mark for the first time, to reach 2.2 million.
  • The number of Indian tourists entering France has already reached 500,000, with a 48.14% increase in visa applications.
  • Americans also love France as a destination, with an increase of 15.2% in US visitors.
  • The number of European tourists visiting, however, fell by 1.5% year-on-year with varying trends: a decline in the number of German (9.2%) and Swiss tourists (6.5%), however, higher numbers of British nationals visiting (3.3%), and the number of Italian and Spanish tourists increasing by 6.5% and 4.9% respectively. 
More good news is that the total number of overnight stays also increased (0.8%), which ought to feed through to increased revenue by the sector, which makes a solid contribution to GDP (7.4% in 2014).
The 13 November attacks in Paris and Saint-Denis limited the increase in the number of arrivals, particularly in the capital. Visits by foreign nationals was up 1.8% over the first three quarters of the year, but fell sharply 3.1% in the last quarter. Paris suffered in particular, with a 15% fall for November/December. INSEE (French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies) confirmed that the year-end was impacted by the attacks, with a 6.3% fall in the number of overnight stays by international tourists in November, and a 16.5% fall in December.

The Government, together with Paris's Mayor and Councillors, MPs for the Ile-de-France region and tourism professionals are working hard to actively promote the assets of France as a destination following the events of 13 November. As a reminder, the State is committed to further developing hotel infrastructure and improving tourist capacity through the creation of the investment platform France Développement Tourisme, which is unprecedented in its scope. This platform will see €1 million made available starting this year through the Caisse des Dépôts (French state-controlled financial institution) and Bpifrance (French Public Investment Bank).

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