Tourism Numbers Fudged?

France top tourism destination!  France breaks travel record with 83 million visitors! France number “UN”!

Not according to Jean-Pierre Nadir, CEO of the travel site Easyvoyage.

In an interview with Laurent Calixte for Challenges magazine, Nadir sets the record straight.

Out of the famous 83 million visitors to France, “14 % are ‘in transit”” and “15 million are ‘Voyageurs Disney” just here to see Disneyland Paris who “spend a half-day in the capital to see the Effeil Tower then leave for elsewhere in Europe.” (Fun fact: anyone passing through customs in a French airport gets counted as a tourist – including in transit passengers who never leave the airport!)

And as for tourist spending, says Nadir, “there’s reason to cry”.

France’s supposed 83 million visitors bring in only 50 billion euros.

Sounds good? Not compared to Spain. With “only” 60 million visitors, Spain does 60 billion in sales. That’s 20% more per capita. Despite France’s clear advantage with business travelers, a high end market Spain’s not even in.

Why aren’t tourists spending more in France?

Because, suggests Nadir, France is not trying.

“In the last ten years Spain has doubled the number of four and five star hotels – which cost on average 14% less than France’s”! And despite receiving less visitors, Spain has more hotel rooms: 680,000 in Spain compared to 580,000 in France.

Even Germany, Nadir notes, does better. (“1.240 euros per visitor with 30 million visitors, compared to 647 euros for France”).

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2 Responses to “Tourism Numbers Fudged?” »»

  1. Comment by Sylvie. Sevigny | 09/08/13 at 6:43 pm

    Hi, I am French, residing in the States for now. As French citizen I know the French are not to happy with tourists….nothing new. I doubt they will try harder. To the average Frenchman if there were no tourists it would be fine, yet if you install yourself for a prolonged amount of time and socialise, accept their costumes the French will go out of their way to accept you. They have little to do with custom counting every person as a tourist.
    Un bon Dimanche a vous :)

  2. LZ
    Comment by LZ | 09/09/13 at 10:11 am

    @Sylvie I agree with you. But the article is not about how the French relate to tourists (or vice versa) but about how misleading statistics are reported. The interview with Jean-Pierre Nadir, CEO of the travel site Easyvoyage, who denounces these practices was originally published in the French magazine Challenges.

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