Paris will always be Paris…
The French economy may be at a standstill, there are still some good news. Among them, the confirmation that France is still an attractive destination for tourists from all over the world. In 2011, the number of foreign visitors reached a new high with almost 82 million tourists coming to France, a 5 %-increase compared to the record high of 2010. Once again France is comforting its status as the world most visited country in the world, beating the USA, China and Spain.
More and more tourists come from BRIC countries but Europeans still make for 2/3 of the visitors and since they prefer short stays or weekends, France only ranks third in terms of revenues generated by tourism, behind the USA and Spain.
Not surprisingly, Paris is once more the most visited city in the world. With the trifle amount of 28 million visitors in 2011, the City of Light still attracts myriads of tourists who go to Notre-Dame, the Sacre-Coeur, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower or the Georges Pompidou Art Museum, the city’s top 5 attractions. But it would be a cliché to think tourists do not visit other places, especially since the city has started to invest a lot of money to highlight its assets: 143 museums, 970 art galleries, 100 religious sites, 208 theaters, 3 opera houses, 463 parks and gardens, 5 major department stores…
The goal is to secure revenues generated by tourism, as 13% of all the salaried jobs in Paris are linked to tourism. In this regard, many tourists now visit the Canal Saint-Martin, the Coulée Verte, the Quai Branly Museum. They even venture outside of Paris to visit the “Saint-Denis” basilica, where most of the Kings and Queens of France are buried. This trend should continue in the future as the region is investing a lot to renovate and expand its infrastructure and transport facilities. The « Great Paris » will serve that purpose with a huge metro system all around the city and new futuristic buildings such as the Philarmonic Concert Hall or the Angle Tower.
Meanwhile, significant efforts are being made in the hotel industry in order to comply with new international regulations and standards. The city’s 1.500 hotels are not always offering the kind of services visitors usually expect and choosing a place to stay may sometimes be a nerve-racking experience for first-time comers (which arrondissement, which metro station…). Thankfully, some websites offer an interesting selection of top hotels in Paris to make your stay as pleasant as possible.
The new year is already a few months deep but the most dynamic season is ahead of us. Therefore the answer officials are anxiously waiting for is whether or not 2013 will set a new recod high!