France crowned the most visited country in the world

Though the many countries of the world may differ when it comes to different ideas about government, their economies and social issues, one thing’s for sure: they all seem to love France. Being the most visited country in the world definitely has its benefits: 82 million visitors and a mind blowing €77 billion in revenue because of this, for 2012 alone. What would be the equivalent be in U.S. dollars? $102.07 billion.

The current statistics illustrate a 6% increase in tourism activity for the country, where the top countries contributing to those numbers were the United States, China, the United Kingdom, and the Middle East. Though Paris is the top destination for these tourists, other regions in France receive just as much interest and activity from the international community, such as Provence, the French Riviera and the Loire Valley.


Tourists have offered a variety of reasons to explain their interest in France, ranging from the country’s rich history, to its picturesque landscapes and villages, as well as its famous museums, monuments, and gastronomy.

Official figures from 2012, in terms of the hotel industry especially, show that the Paris region alone had more than 68 million guest nights. This is a 9.7% increase from previous numbers, where an astounding amount of those guests were of non-European origin, coming from the U.S., the Middle East and other countries in Asia. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ official sources, where these data are coming from, two million people are employed in tourism activities, which account for more than 7% of French GDP and also generate around €44 billion in revenue.

In terms of European visitors, Germans, Italians, Belgians, and Russians (who, along with Ukrainians, are expected to account for roughly 1.3 million visitors to France in 2014) all share an attraction to France not only because of the country’s heritage, romanticism, perfume and wines, but also for a specific aspect of French gastronomy: the crêpe. The Breton crepe, for example, is seen as the French regional specialty par excellence.

The French Tourism Minister, Dominique Perben, said the following to Agence France-Presse (AFP) about the country’s appeal to the international community:

“One can always do better, but what sector of activity was worth €77 billion in revenue in 2012, as against €75.4 billion in 2011 and €68.7 billion in 2010? We must mobilize to remain the leading world destination, be more competitive, more structured and improve the offer and quality of services."

Article published on August 14, 2013

Last modified on 15/08/2013

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