France remains the world's top international travel destination, according to recent data from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and ForwardKeys. International arrivals to France are on the rise, with a strong rebound in the first half of 2024, reaching 93% of 2019 levels.

This resurgence is contributing significantly to the country's economy, which, at its peak, added EUR220 billion and supported 2.7 million jobs.

France Leads as Top International Travel Destination in 2024
(Photo : Mika Baumeister on Unsplash)

France Continues to Lead Global Tourism Recovery in 2024

WTTC President & CEO, Julia Simpson, commended France's commitment to the travel and tourism sector, acknowledging its economic and cultural value. President Macron's support for the industry has played a crucial role in maintaining France's status as the most popular destination worldwide.

The data also shows that airlines are increasing their capacity to meet the growing demand, with the number of available seats projected to surpass 2019 levels this year, according to TTR Weekly. Orly Airport has seen a 28% increase in passenger capacity, while Charles de Gaulle remains the busiest airport in France, only 3% below 2019 levels.

In addition to Paris, other French cities are gaining popularity among foreign visitors. Nice is among the top-performing European cities, with international arrivals expected to reach 94% of pre-pandemic levels.

France is attracting travelers from various countries, with Spanish and Canadian arrivals exceeding 2019 levels by more than 64% and 54%, respectively. Irish and South Korean travelers are also returning in substantial numbers, with visitor numbers up by 19% and 16% compared to 2019.

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Moreover, travelers to France are spending more, with bookings of premium cabins surging by 21% in the first half of the year compared to pre-pandemic levels, as revealed by the news report.

WTTC's Economic Impact Research predicts robust growth for the French Travel & Tourism sector, with an annual average growth rate of 3% over the next decade, outpacing the country's overall economy. This growth is expected to create more than 555,000 jobs in the sector by 2033.

France's strong tourism recovery is bolstered by its successful hosting of the Rugby World Cup 2023 and the upcoming Olympic Games, making it a highly sought-after destination for regional and long-haul markets in 2024.

France Implements Nationwide Ban on Smoking at Beaches and Public Spaces

France is set to implement a nationwide ban on smoking in public areas, including beaches, as part of a four-year anti-tobacco plan starting in 2024. The move aims to combat the high rates of smoking-related illnesses and deaths in the country.

Schengen Visa News mentioned that smoking will be prohibited in various locations, including schools and government-owned forests and green areas, in an effort to create a "smoke-free" generation by 2032. Those found violating the ban may face fines, with specific details yet to be published by authorities.

The price of cigarettes in France is also set to increase significantly, with a pack expected to cost €13 by 2027. Additionally, disposable e-cigarettes will be banned as part of the anti-smoking measures.

Health Minister Aurelien Rousseau highlighted the severe health impact of smoking in France, where it is the leading cause of preventable deaths, claiming around 75,000 lives annually. Approximately 12 million French people, or a quarter of the adult population, continue to use tobacco daily.

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