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The world’s most popular holiday destination

With holidays more or less on everybody’s mind, it has reached that time of year again where the United Nations World Tourism Organisation releases its annual list of tourism numbers. The figures this year suggest that France, with 83 million visitors, is once again the world’s most popular holiday destinations. To put those figures in perspective, that is significantly more visitors than its 66 million population.

The key to France’s success is the sheer scale and diversity of the attractions on offer. There is the Alpine ski resorts, the charming countryside of Brittany and the beautiful blue Mediterranean Sea.

However, despite these huge numbers, the tourism industry makes up only 7 per cent of the country’s GDP, which is behind every country in the top ten. So why is France unable to make its guests part with their money? Second on the list is the United States with 67 million visitors, however they spend a significant amount more money than the more numerous French visitors. Also in the top ten were Spain, China, Italy, Turkey and the UK.

A massive 83 per cent of France’s visitors come from other European countries, which may make them more likely to camp and bring their own food and essentials. In contrast, the majority of America’s visitors come from neighbouring Mexico and Canada.

According to the UN study, only 16 per cent of France’s visitors go to Paris, despite the city’s formidable reputation as a tourist hotspot. The French may need to make more of an effort to extend these numbers. Francois Navarro from the Ile de France tourist authority said: “Our objective is to make visitors stay longer because if they do they'll spend more money on accommodation, in restaurants and on shopping. So we need to organise huge events. The Olympic Games is an objective for us.”

Wherever you are going this year, remember to make sure you have travel insurance and wear sun cream. A summer holiday in any destination is great but you do need to stay safe.

Date Created: 05 August 2013

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