France: Where tourists flock but Spain takes the cash

France: Where tourists flock but Spain takes the cash.

France: Where tourists flock but Spain takes the cash. Image: Paris je t'aime / Facebook. 

France remains a top destination for European tourists, attracting 100 million visitors in 2023.

This shows a 7.5 per cent increase from the previous year and 10 per cent above pre-pandemic levels.

While it leads in the number of travellers, it falls behind Spain’s tourist income.

The French government, gearing up for the Paris Olympic Games next summer, highlights a 12 per cent rise in income from international tourists in 2023 compared to the previous year, reaching €63.5 billion.

Second in Income

According to central bank data, France ranks second in income, trailing Spain’s €84.9 billion, surpassing Italy and Germany.

Tourist income in France surpassed pre-pandemic levels every month of 2023, with peak earnings in August (€6.9 billion) and July (€5.4 billion).

The surge in income reflects both inflationary effects on tourist prices and increased visits from neighbouring countries like Belgium (+37 per cent), the Netherlands (+28 per cent), Switzerland (+23 per cent), and the UK (+20 per cent).

American visitors notably returned in large numbers, up 52 per cent compared to 2019.

However, Asian visitor numbers, while increasing from 2022, still lag behind pre-pandemic levels, with Japan up by 70 per cent and China by 30 per cent.

Despite these fluctuations, France achieved a positive balance of payments from international tourism, reaching a new high of €18.1 billion in 2023.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.