France is the most popular tourist destination in the world. In 2013 it was visited by 85.7 million foreign tourists and generated 77.7 billion Euros, which is almost 10% of the country’s GDP. Domestic tourists account for 70% of the money spent in the country.
France is a large country and has a wide variety of natural environments and climates. The country covers an area of over 212,000 square miles and is the largest country in the European Union. This results in people in Brittany living in a completely different climate than those people living in the Cote d’Azur. The tourist industry in France is popular among the domestic population as a large area of it is seasonal and activity based. For any Frenchman wanting to ski the amazing variety of resorts in both the Alpine and Pyrenees area, makes it easy for families to take a short break without having to travel overseas.
France like many other areas of the world, benefited greatly from the advent of the commercial airlines after the Second World War but it was already attracting people from all over Europe in between the two wars. Its location meant that many of the visitors coming into the country could travel over land. Of the tourists that visit today 13 million come from Germany and 12.6 million from the United Kingdom. Over 3.1 million come from the United States which is particularly impressive considering the distance that is covered.
The beauty of the region is that it offers a wide variety of attractions. While the Americans are attracted to the culture of the country, the British are attracted by the climate and the Germans head to the beaches.
There are common factors that attract every nationality and one such factor is the cuisine of France. The quality of its food and wine is known all over the world. People will actually visit the country to actually visit the different wine regions as they are not concentrated in any one particular area.
The country is home to the Michelin Star rating of restaurants. Although top rated restaurants are found all around the world most are found in France. The guide was created in 1900 by Andre Michelin the co-owner of the Michelin Tyre Company who wanted to let motorists know where they could get a decent meal on their travels around the country.
As well as this reflecting the quality of the eateries in the country, it also reflects for how long tourism has been popular in the country. The highest award is three stars and many of the three-star restaurants that are found outside of the country have French chefs organizing their kitchen.
The location of the country means that it attracts many day visitors from its local neighbours. For British school children it has been similar to a rite of passage, to have been part of at least one French trip in their school life. The opening of the channel tunnel in 1994 has made the trip to France even more accessible for British Schools.
As well as using the tunnel a fleet of ferries have been transporting Britain’s across the channel, from ports, such as Dover and Folkestone, since 1964. The French language is part of the British school’s curriculum and is a major reason why the schools are so keen for their students to visit France. French is actually spoke by 220 million people around the world with another 72 million people being partial French speakers.
There are many reasons that account for Frances popularity as a tourist destination. It has created many regions in the country that have come to depend on the industry for the economic benefits that it brings to the local community.