High-end hotels and shopping made France the most popular destination on the planet

Paris is the second most visited city in the world after London, according to the latest figures in 2014. If the visitors are still attracted by its cultural offerings – the museums and monuments of Paris welcomed over 73 million visitors in 2013 – the capital also attracts a large number of people whose main interest in the city is for shopping, in particular to buy luxury items in its famous boutiques. According to a study published by the tourist office and congress of Paris in January this year, the primary activity of 60% of Chinese and Japanese tourists in the capital is shopping and this rises to 74% for visitors from the Middle East.

With 83 million visitors, France is the most popular destination on the planet, according to French newspaper Les Echos. Tourism puts 145 billion euros into the French economy, which accounts for 7.2% of GNP, and has risen by 17% between 2005 and 2011.

However, the benefits of tourism are not spread evenly, with three regions – Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur, Rhône-Alpes and, inevitably, Ile-de-France accounting for almost half the total revenue from tourists. The tourist industry is of particular importance to the southeast, accounting for 31% of the GNP of Corsica and 17% of the GNP of Languedoc-Roussillon.

16% of the revenue from tourists is spent on accommodations. In Paris, large hotels at the high end of the market dominate the revenue stream. Foreign tourists, in particular American, account for the bulk of this expenditure. This contrasts with southern and central regions of France, where camping, gîtes, bed and breakfasts and seasonal rentals scoop up the majority of the tourist spend.