Paris: 1st world tourist destination
Tourism represents a key economic sector for the capital which recorded 32 million hotel arrivals in 2013; this means that Paris was, once again, ranked as the world’s leading tourist destination. The good performance of Paris and its region comes from both a national and international clientele as well as from a good balance between business and leisure demand.
Paris may well have the facilities to deal with several congresses and seminars, but it is not resistant to difficulties in the French economy which has had an impact on business and event-led tourism. With 16.9 million tourists in 2013, the level of French visitors fell sharply (-7.5 %) by over a million year on year.
However, there has been an increase in the number of foreign visitors. With 15.5 million tourists, the number of visitors rose by 8.2% compared to 2012. This was the best level recorded in the last ten years. Leading the way were tourists from the UK, with over 2.1 million arrivals, followed by Americans, Germans, Italians and Chinese.
The rising tide of Chinese visitors was particularly remarkable in 2013 (+52.6 %). Chinese visitors should rise for the first time with 2 million tourists in France by 2015.
Paris : a unique cultural heritage
Paris and its region has a high number of museums, but also the highest number of theatres in Europe as well as the highest number of cinemas and libraries in the world.
In terms of the most frequented museums, monuments and sites, Disneyland Paris remained in the lead with 14.8 million visitors in 2015. The Château de Versailles welcomed 7.5 million visitors and, not far behind, La Vallée Village (an open-air shopping centre) recorded 6.5 million visitors.
Paris : a crossroads for international trade
At the heart of Europe, the Greater Paris Region is exceptionally easy to access due to its vast transport network.
Roissy – Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports exceeded 90 million passengers in 2013, a new record due to the effects of an upturn in international traffic. Roissy – Charles de Gaulle, with its 62 million passengers, is the 2nd largest airport hub in Europe (after London Heathrow Airport in Great Britain) and is the 9th largest airport in the world in terms of passenger numbers. In total, the airport serves 315 cities around the world.
Paris is also a major railway hub. Thanks to the TGV (high-speed trains) that provide direct, fast links to major European cities, Paris is located at less than 3 hours from London, Frankfurt, Brussels, Amsterdam and Geneva.
From a national perspective, transport systems (air, road and rail) are effective and form a complete network providing easy links to Paris from the largest French cities such as Lyon, Marseille, Lille or Toulouse.
On a regional level (meaning within the Greater Paris Region) public transport also provides a very dense network. The network includes 14 métro lines, 5 RER (regional railway) lines, 8 Transilien (suburban trains), 7 tram lines as well as several hundred bus routes.
It is also worth noting that the French rail network, and the Greater Paris Region network in particular, has the distinctive characteristic of having a radial form, which is largely centred on Paris. The Grand Paris Express project which will encircle the capital, will bring a complementary route around the city from 2020.