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Tourist visits hit record high in Paris region in 2018, but Asian tourist numbers down

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AFP
Translated by
Nicola Mira
Published
today Aug 28, 2018
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Tourist visits in Paris and its region, the Ile-de-France, reached an “absolute peak” in the first half of 2018 thanks chiefly to visitors from outside France, though the heavy flow of Asian tourists seems to be subsiding.


The Tour Eiffel, in Paris


“After an exceptional 2017, the 2018 tourist season set off to beat all previous records,” stated on Monday the Paris/Ile-de-France Comité régional du tourisme (CRT, the regional tourism committee), in a press conference held at the Palace of Versailles.

In the first six months of the year, 17.1 million hotel visits were recorded, equivalent to a 4.1% increase on a yearly basis, “and this despite the rail strikes which chiefly affected French visitors and, less significantly, also those from some neighbouring European countries,” said the CRT.

The increase was driven by foreign tourists, whose number rose by 9.2%, while in the same period the number of French tourists stagnated, losing 0.3%.

“Hotels in Paris and the Ile-de-France hosted nearly 700,000 more French and international tourists than in the first six months of 2017,” said the CRT.

“This is very significant for the region’s economic growth, and for employment in Ile-de-France,” said Valérie Pécresse, the region’s President. “Tourists are back but this doesn’t mean we must rest on our laurels, international competition is harsh, each year we must do better, and we must grab all the available opportunities quickly,” she added.

The CRT nevertheless noted a “slow-down in the rate of growth” of the number of visitors from certain countries, such as China (whose hotel visits grew 5.4% in the first six months, compared to a 17.8% growth for the whole of 2017), Japan (+17% compared to +32.8%) and, though less so, also the Near and Middle East (+2.6% compared to +2.9 %).

In the ranking of the countries with the highest number of visitors to the region, the USA took top spot again with 1.25 million hotel visits to Paris/Ile-de-France, followed by the UK (982,000) and Germany (592,000). China came fourth with 543,000 hotel visits (as opposed to ‘hotel nights’, which compute the number of nights spent in hotels, ‘hotel visits’ are counted only once, regardless of the length of the stay).

As for the summer season, “the trend was the same, with a rise in the number of tourist visits, according to the hotel industry operators surveyed.”

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