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Tourism: a promising economic sector

Tourism in France is at an all-time high with a total of 89.4 million visitors in 2018 and a target of 100 million tourists for 2021 (which appear impossible with the Covid-19 pandemic). Paris alone had over 40 million visitors in 2018, with 15 million visiting EuroDisney, the most popular attraction; 7 million visited the Eiffel Tower and 8 million tourists visited the Louvre. There is no surprise that France is the most visited country in the world and, in 2016, the travel and tourism industry contributed 198.3 billion euros towards the French economy and created 2.8 million jobs, both directly and indirectly.

France has 37 sites inscribed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List and features cities or sites of high cultural interest (Paris being the foremost, but also Loire Valley, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Lyon and others), beaches and seaside resorts, ski resorts, as well as rural regions that many enjoy for their beauty and tranquillity (green tourism). Small and picturesque French villages of quality heritage (such as Collonges-la-Rouge, Locronan or Montsoreau) are promoted through the association Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (literally “The Most Beautiful Villages of France”). The “Remarkable Gardens” label is a list of the over two hundred gardens classified by the Ministry of Culture. This label is intended to protect and promote remarkable gardens and parks.

Tourism demand will continue to increase. Indeed, there is significant potential for additional tourists, particularly as a third of French citizens do not take holidays, whilst two-thirds of domestic tourism demand stems from residents.

Tourism that contributes to the economic development of France


The main tourist expenditure is on transport, accommodation and catering. Regarding accommodation, in 2016, this sector, combined with catering, generated a turnover of more than 96 billion euros.

Thus, in France, the tourism sector has an undeniable positive impact on the economy of the country, but as everywhere tourism develops, to these advantages are added real disadvantages, and appear many challenges and challenges, not only economic, but also social and environmental.