Figures handed to the World Tourism Organisation by the French government have confirmed France as the world’s most visited country – by some margin
The statistics for last year were released yesterday by the “Direction Generale de la Compétitivité de l'industrie et des services”, showing that France was the only country in the world to receive more than 80 million tourists last year.
It was the last of the countries likely to be in the top 10 to submit official figures. The news was greeted with glee by some French publications. “Cocorico!” exclaimed a report in Le Figaro at news of a total 84.7 million overseas visitors to the country in 2013.
This represents a two per cent increase on the previous year, with the number of overnight stays rising even more rapidly, by more than four per cent.
There were only marginal changes to this year’s top 10 most visited, with Spain (60.7 million) regaining the third place spot it lost to China (55.7million) in 2012. The UK was in eighth place, with a total of 31.2 million visitors.
While there has been some debate about the most visited city in the world – with senior politicians in London and Paris exchanging words on the subject earlier this year – these latest figures left no room for doubt about the most popular country. The United States was the world’s second busiest nation last year in terms of tourist visits, with the official figure of 69.8 million showing it was almost 15 million visitors shy of the French figure.
Contributed by Jolyon Attwooll, www.telegraph.co.uk
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