In 2021, Spain was projected to be the most visited country on the planet, beating out tourism powerhouses like Italy, Thailand and the United States. However, a recent study conducted by GlobalData tells a different story. Spain’s neighbour, France, is now on track to surpass Spain with a 12.1 per cent annual growth rate. By 2025, France is expected to receive over 93.7 million tourists annually – making it the most visited country in the world.
Are we even surprised though? France boasts many of the most recognizable historical monuments like the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and Mont Saint-Michel. Not to mention housing some of the world’s greatest selection of food and wine from Normandy all the way down to the French Alps, and the Parisian fashion scene.
GlobalData mentions that much of France’s appeal in the coming years will centre around the growing annual festivals and gastronomy industry. Even lesser popular cities like Lyon and Bordeaux will see an increase in tourism rivaling that of more popular areas like the French Riviera.
France certainly has a lot to look forward to in the coming years from the Rugby World Cup to the Summer Olympics in 2024. Which, in part, is why French President Emmanual Macron released his plans for developing the French tourism sector into a sustainable global juggernaut by 2030. The Destination France Plan of 2021 outlined specific regional investments in addition to a sustainability project that would eventually see France as the top sustainable travel destination by the end of the decade.
With French tourism looking bright and prosperous in the next few years, it might be time to plan a short trip yourself to an unfamiliar region. As a travel aficionado myself, I would recommend the following cities based on your affinities:
- If you love wine… visit Bordeaux.
- If you love gastronomy… visit Lyon.
- If you love the beaches… visit Antibes.
- If you love nature… visit Annecy.
- If you love history… visit Montpellier.
But for the love of all things French, do yourself a favour and visit somewhere that isn’t Paris for once.