Updated on May 29, 2023 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

France has always been an international hotspot for tourists and travelers.

It’s easy to see why – not only is it home to Paris, one of the most visited cities in the world, but you can also find other important places like Marseille, Nice, and Cannes.

This is why France is often cited as the most visited country in the world – beating out its European neighbors and far larger countries like the USA.

France has been the world’s most visited country for over 30 years, although it briefly lost its crown to Spain in 2021.

It’s still one of the leading countries in tourism and every year, millions of tourists and travelers visit the country from afar.

France also has a huge domestic tourism industry too with over 200 million domestic trips made each year.

Tourism plays an important role in France’s economy. In 2022, 10% of France’s GDP was through tourism and the importance of this sector is sure to have an influence over employment too.

It’s estimated that France’s tourism sector is responsible for over 2 million jobs directly and indirectly.

This is why studying the impact of COVID-19 on France’s tourism industry is so important because it likely had a huge ripple effect on the country’s economy overall.

In this article, we will be taking a look at several important facts, statistics, and trends in France and its tourism sector.

This includes subdivisions like travel, accommodation, and more. This will provide you with a deeper insight into France and its tourism sector today.

Key Facts About Tourism In France

  • France remains as the most visited country in the world with 66.6 million visitors in 2022.
  • It lost its most visited country status in 2021 to Spain. However, France has consistently taken the title for many years before. Prior to 2020, France saw between 70 to 90 million visitors each year from 2010. This means it’s no surprise that France won back its crown in 2022 and we can expect it to hang onto the title for the future.
  • Domestic tourism is also large in France as 2021 saw 252 million domestic trips. So, a lot of French people love to vacation at home rather than go abroad.
  • Most of France’s inbound tourists are European. This could be due to the proximity for a lot of Germans, Belgians, and Spaniards who can visit France for same-day return trips.
  • Over the years, France has seen more international tourists visiting from Asia.
  • In 2022, France’s tourism revenue from tourist spending reached a record-breaking 58 billion euros.
  • It ranked as the 5th country with the highest tourism revenue for 2022, behind countries like the USA, UK, and China.
  • France’s current state tourism budget is estimated at 7.5 billion euros. This is accumulated across various ministries including the Regional Tourism Committee, Departmental Tourism Committee, and more. This statistic just shows how profitable tourism is for France – they make a huge profit every year from visitor spending.

Key Facts About Tourism In Paris

  • In 2018, Paris was ‘the most popular destination in the world’ – even ahead of other popular destinations like New York City, London, and Rome.
  • 33 million people are estimated to have visited Paris in 2022. That’s a third of the total visitors for 2022! This means that it’s clear that a majority of France’s tourists are visiting the capital city.
  • The Louvre welcomed 2.8 million visitors in 2021. The Eiffel Tower saw 2 million visitors. This makes these two the most visited sights in Paris (and France) even in 2022.
  • Tourists in Paris spent an average of 111 euros each day in 2019.
  • Over the years, most of France’s travel and tourism revenue comes from Paris.In 2018, international visitor spending hit 14.06 billion US dollars.
  • Paris’s travel and tourism contribution to France’s GDP was 35.7 billion US dollars. Unfortunately, that’s still below the $38 billion US dollars it contributed in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In 2021, Disneyland Paris saw visitor numbers increase from the previous year by 34% (3.5 million visitors in total).
  • Over 25% of Disneyland’s visitors were French, showing the importance of domestic tourism in France.
  • Behind France, 14% of Disneyland’s visitors were from the UK and nearly 10% were Spanish. This also shows how much of France’s tourism is reliant on its neighbors.

Tourism And Its Impact On The French Economy

  • Tourism accounts for 10% of France’s gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Between 2012 and 2019, travel and tourism contributed between 197 and 210 billion euros to France’s GDP, steadily increasing over the years. In 2020, it dropped to just 107.9 billion euros due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In 2022, it was estimated that France’s tourism GDP contribution would rise to 216 billion euros by the end of 2023 – exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
  • Tourism industries employed 1.34 million people in 2020 – a decrease of nearly 200,000 people in 2019.
  • France is expected to surpass pre-pandemic employment levels in the tourism sector by 2.3% this year. This means that by the end of 2023, it’s expected that 2.8 million people will be employed under France’s tourism sector.
  • Over the next 10 years, the tourism sector is expected to grow by 38,000 jobs each year and rise by 3 million employed bodies by 2032. This gives us an optimistic view on France’s tourism sector and its economy.

Tourism In France Post-COVID

  • In 2019, France welcomed 90 million international tourists. This dropped to just over 40 million in 2020 – but with each year, more people are visiting France.
  • COVID-19 is responsible for decreasing France’s tourism GDP decreasing by 34% in 2020. Clearly, the industry took a huge hit during the pandemic – as it did in just about every country across the world.
  • This is estimated to be a 20 billion euro loss for France’s tourism sector.
  • Tourism grew by 4% in 2021 but was still well below pre-COVID levels. This was one of the first signs of France’s tourism sector recovering after the pandemic.
  • In 2022, tourists spent 1.2 billion more euros in France than they did pre-COVID in 2019.
  • Attendance at collective tourist accommodation returned to pre-COVID levels during the 2023 winter season.
  • Between April and September 2022, tourist collective accommodation saw 322 million overnight stays – that’s a 2.4% increase compared to the same period in 2019.
  • Tourism in France continued to rebound in the first quarter of 2023, with collective tourist accommodation (excluding campsites) seeing numbers 12.6% higher than the previous year. This proves that the growth in the industry seen over the past two years was no fluke and instead is a growing trend!
  • Paris is recovering better than other capital cities like London and Madrid. It is currently just 6% below pre-pandemic levels in GDP contribution. Other cities with large tourism GDP contributions are between 18% to 30% behind. So, France’s tourism industry is recovering more swiftly from COVID-19 compared to other countries.
  • Despite seeing visitor numbers increase since COVID-19, Disneyland Paris has yet to meet pre-pandemic levels. So, not all areas of France’s tourism sector have completely recovered from the effects of the pandemic yet – even huge attractions like Disneyland Paris.
  • According to GlobalData, France is set to reach 93.7 million international visitors by 2025 – surpassing the 90 million figure from 2019. So, France’s tourism sector is estimated to fully recover from the impacts of COVID-19 in just two more years.
  • This is further supported by the estimation that the tourism contribution to France’s GDP could surpass pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023. However, this is dependent on increasing employment rates in the year.


Paris References

Tourism And Economy

Post-COVID Statistics

Introducing France