France Is The Top Tourism Destination In The World; The U.S. Nabs Second Place

 @ismati.mangla@ibtimes.com on August 13 2014 10:37 AM
453333992
Tourists pose for a picture under the rain in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris Aug. 8, 2014. LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images

Planning a vacation to France? You’re not alone. The country retained its crown as the top tourism destination in the world, according to new figures released by the U.N. World Tourism Organization.

France drew 84.7 million visitors in 2013, up 2 percent from the previous year. The United States took a distant second, attracting 69.8 million visitors during the same period.

Spain, with 60.7 million tourists, regained the third-place spot it had ceded to China in 2010. (China was fourth this year, with 55.7 million visitors.) The only other change in the top-10 rankings this year was the addition of Thailand, which rounded out the list with 26.5 million visitors.

The rankings are good news for France, which has been suffering from a lackluster economy and high unemployment. Its tourism industry, which accounts for 6.5 percent of France’s GDP, is a bright spot in the country’s grim economic landscape. Tourists spent 600 million nights in the country last year, up 4.6 percent from 2012. And average stays were longer, too -- 7.1 days, which is 2.5 percent longer than the previous year.

France owes much of its tourism success to Asian visitors. The number of tourists from China visiting France shot up 23.4 percent from the previous year, while tourists from India grew by 15.7 percent. But North American visitors were also choosing France as a destination again -- they had slowed down during the financial crisis -- with an increase of 5.8 percent from 2012.

World’s Top Tourism Destinations, by Number of Visitors

  1. France 84.7 million

  2. USA 69.8 million

  3. Spain 60.7 million

  4. China 55.7 million

  5. Italy 47.7 million

  6. Turkey 35.7 million

  7. Germany 31.5 million

  8. U.K. 31.2 million

  9. Russian Federation 28.4 million

  10. Thailand 26.5 million

Join the Discussion