France Tourism Still Number One

Ah, springtime in Paris. Apparently a lot of travelers still long for a trip to the City of Lights and are finding a lot of other reasons to visit France too.

According to France's minister of tourism Herve Novelli, while tourism numbers decreased 6 percent last year from 2008, France remains the number one tourism destination in the world, welcoming more than 74 million foreign visitors annually.

Last year, according to the latest figures, leisure travel remained strong at 53 million visitors, though business travel was down 10 percent from the previous year. Among last year's visitors, were 3.2 million Americans, a 4.6 percent decrease from 2008.

Commenting on the results, Jean-Philippe Perol, director for the Americas of ATOUT FRANCE (the France Tourism Development Agency) said the numbers of American visitors were actually better than expected given the difficult economic and financial situation last year in the U.S.

"If this keeps up and the exchange stays around $1.20 to a euro, we expect that results for American travel to France this year will be up 4 to 5 percent," Perol added.
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