Inbound visits within the French tourism market were on the rise in 2011 and confirmed the travel industry revival after two years of decline. Europe remained the main contributing region but arrivals from emerging countries (China, Brazil, Russia) saw the fastest growth and were driven by the emergence of a greater middle class in those countries.
In 2011, France was expected to remain the world's number one tourist destination in terms of total arrivals.
Domestic tourism was also on the rise and grew faster than outbound tourism as many French decided to spend their holidays in France. The Arab Spring impact and the uncertain economic environment played an important role in this trend. Rhône-Alpes and Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur (PACA) were the most popular destinations.
According to a recent report, 'Travel and Tourism in France to 2017,' the domestic sector of the France tourism market plays a vital role in France's economy. In 2012, France registered 200.4 million domestic trips, while the volume of outbound trips measured 25.9 million.
Domestic trip flows are high compared to inbound trip volumes. Key festivals include Easter, Christmas and New Year, periods when many French citizens return to their hometowns to visit family and friends.
Paris, the capital city, is the most visited city in the world. Paris has some of the world's largest and renowned museums, including the Louvre, which is the most visited art museum in the world, but also the Musée d'Orsay, mostly devoted to impressionism, and Beaubourg, dedicated to Contemporary art. Paris hosts some of the world's most recognizable landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, which is the most-visited paid monument in the world, the Arc de Triomphe, the cathedral of Notre-Dame or the Sacré-Cœur.
Like the thermal spa and ski resorts, the key tourist sites are a godsend for tourism: the Mont Saint-Michel (3.5 million visitors), the Palace of Versailles (6.5 million, 70% are foreign tourists), the Loire Valley Castles and the big theme parks - Futuroscope (1.7 million), Disneyland Paris (15 million), Parc Astérix, Vulcania, and the Puy du Fou historical theme park are good examples.
For more information on the French tourism market, see the latest research: Tourism Market Research
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