Tourism in France

Tourism in France

France recorded a total of 117 million tourists in 2020, ranking 1st in the world in absolute terms.

Without including the size of a country, such a ranking list may not be very meaningful. By putting the tourist numbers in relation to the population of France, the result is much more comparable picture: With 1.7 tourists per resident, France ranked 31st in the world. In Western Europe, it ranked 2nd.

In 2020, France generated around 35.96 billion US dollars in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 1.2 percent of its the gross domestic product and approximately 43 percent of all international tourism receipts in Western Europe.

A global comparison can be found here › International tourism

Back to overview: France

The most popular cities in France for international travelers are Paris and Nice. In 2019, Paris ranked 6th among the world's most popular cities with 19.09 million tourists. Nice was in 93rd place with 2.58 million tourists.

Tourism in FranceOn average, each of the tourists arriving in 2020 spent about 260 US dollars. Conversely, the inhabitants of France spend as much as 1,239 dollars a year when they themselves spend vacations abroad.

Development of the tourism sector in France from 1995 to 2020

The following chart shows the number of tourist arrivals registered in France each year. Anyone who spends at least one night in the country but does not live there for more than 12 months is considered a tourist. Insofar as the survey included the purpose of the trip, business trips and other non-tourism travel purposes have already been excluded. The number of people passing through within the same day, and e.g., crew members of ships or flights are also not considered tourists in most countries. If the same person travels in and out more than once within the same year, each visit counts again.

Data in the chart are given in millions of tourists. The red line represents the average of all 9 countries in Western Europe.

Tourists per year in France

Revenues from tourism

In 1995, tourism revenues amounted to 31.30 billion USD, or about 2.0 percent of the gross national product. This corresponded to about 60.03 million tourists at that time and roughly 521 USD per person. Within 25 years, the country's dependence on tourism has increased noticeably. Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales were $70.78 billion billion, 2.6 percent of gross national product. Thus, each visitor spent an average of $325 on their vacation in France.

In 2020, tourist receipts plummeted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the $70.78 billion billion (2019), only $35.96 billion billion remained. This is a 49 percent decrease in France.

Tourism receipts in France per year

All data for France in detail

YearNumber of touristsReceipts% of GNPReceipts per tourist
2020117.11 m35.96 bn $1.4 %307 $
2019217.88 m70.78 bn $2.6 %325 $
201889.30 m72.52 bn $2.6 %812 $
201786.86 m67.72 bn $2.6 %780 $
201682.68 m63.56 bn $2.6 %769 $
201584.45 m66.44 bn $2.7 %787 $
201483.70 m67.40 bn $2.4 %805 $
201383.63 m66.05 bn $2.3 %790 $
201281.98 m63.98 bn $2.4 %780 $
201180.50 m66.13 bn $2.3 %822 $
201076.65 m56.18 bn $2.1 %733 $
200976.76 m58.91 bn $2.2 %767 $
200879.22 m68.03 bn $2.3 %859 $
200780.85 m63.89 bn $2.4 %790 $
200677.92 m54.62 bn $2.4 %701 $
200574.99 m52.13 bn $2.4 %695 $
200474.43 m53.07 bn $2.5 %713 $
200375.05 m46.58 bn $2.5 %621 $
200277.01 m41.11 bn $2.7 %534 $
200175.20 m37.83 bn $2.7 %503 $
200077.19 m38.71 bn $2.8 %501 $
199973.15 m44.55 bn $3.0 %609 $
199870.11 m29.49 bn $2.0 %421 $
199766.59 m27.40 bn $1.9 %411 $
199662.41 m32.09 bn $2.0 %514 $
199560.03 m31.30 bn $2.0 %521 $

Our data on tourist numbers, revenues and expenditures are based on information from the World Tourism Organization. However, to ensure international comparability, the data for some years or countries were manually researched and corrected if they obviously included visitors without overnight stays. In these cases, the data were taken from the official communications of the respective national tourism authorities.

The World Tourism Organization additionally points out that in some countries, the number of tourists is only counted at airports, while in others they are also counted at border crossings or even hotels. A comprehensive and reliable indication is therefore hardly possible in any country.

Comparison: quality of lifeQuality of life in country comparisonCompare the quality of life around the globe: In which countries is life pleasant, safe and healthy?
Ranking: MegacitiesMega cities - the biggest cities all over the worldRanking of the biggest cities worldwide. On top: Shanghai, Chongqing and Beijing
United States of America: VolcanosActive volcanoes and eruptions in the United StatesVolcanic eruptions and their damages by 17 volcanos of United States of America