IN 2012, France welcomed 83 million foreign tourists, making it the world’s most popular destination for holidaymakers. But where do they all go?
Unsurprisingly, Paris is the biggest draw for visitors to French shores.
Tourists line the pockets of businesses in and around the capital to the tune of €38.8bn a year, according to a report in Le Monde.
Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) is the second most popular destination in terms of visitor-spending, with tourists there forking out €18.1bn annually.
Skiers’ paradise Rhône-Alpes follows close behind. Winter sports fans flock to its resorts, and help boost tourist spending to €17.3bn every year.
Those three regions account for more than half of the annual amount spent by tourists in France each year. Tourist spending in the other regions combined amounts to €67.1bn.
Of all the French regions, Corsica relies most heavily on tourism. Visitors spend just €2.5bn, but this accounts for almost one-third (31.2%) of the island’s annual GDP, compared to 6.5% in Ile-de-France, where - as revealed - tourists spend €38.8bn.
Southern France depends more heavily on holidaymakers’ wallets. Tourism accounts for 15% of the GDP in both PACA and Languedoc Roussillon.
Across the 10 most southern regions, tourism accounts for an average 11% of GDP, against 5.5% in northern regions and 7.2% in France as a whole.
Paris, PACA and Corsica may be tourist hotspots, but other regions are picking up increasing numbers of tourists.
Alsace, Loire Valley, Languedoc-Roussillon, and Normandy have seen tourism rise by an average 17% in the past six years, as they cash in on so-called heritage tourism.
Visitors spend most of their money on transport, followed by accommodation and food, the figures show.