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How Much Does France Make From Tourism


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Doti Cobbs



Welcome to the enchanting world of French tourism. From the picturesque streets of Paris to the sun-soaked beaches of the French Riviera, France has long been a top destination for travelers around the world. But have you ever wondered just how much money France makes from tourism? In this article, we will delve into the depth of France’s tourism industry, explore the revenue generated from tourist arrivals, and uncover the impact of tourism on the country’s economy.


France is renowned for its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning landscapes, making it a magnet for tourists. Whether it’s visiting iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum in Paris, exploring the vineyards of Bordeaux, or basking in the charm of the French countryside, there is something to captivate every traveler’s imagination.


France’s tourism industry has witnessed steady growth over the years, attracting millions of visitors from all corners of the globe. These tourists not only contribute to the country’s economy but also support local businesses, create jobs, and promote cultural exchange.


So, just how much does France make from tourism? Let’s dive into the numbers and explore the economic significance of this thriving industry.


Overview of France’s Tourism Industry

France’s tourism industry is one of the largest in the world, attracting over 89 million international tourists in 2019 alone. It is known for its remarkable versatility, offering a wide range of experiences to suit every traveler’s interests.


One of the key factors driving France’s tourism industry is its geographical diversity. From the snow-capped peaks of the French Alps, to the charming villages of Provence, and the sandy beaches of the French Riviera, the country’s landscape offers a variety of experiences for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and beach enthusiasts alike.


Additionally, France’s rich history and cultural heritage are major draws for tourists. The country is home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Palace of Versailles, as well as world-class museums like the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay.


Furthermore, France is synonymous with culinary excellence and has a reputation for its gastronomy. French cuisine, with its exquisite flavors and techniques, is a major attraction for food enthusiasts. The country’s wine regions, such as Bordeaux and Burgundy, also draw wine connoisseurs from around the world.


Notably, France has established a well-developed tourism infrastructure with a wide range of accommodation options, transportation networks, and tourist services. This infrastructure helps ensure a smooth and comfortable experience for visitors, further enhancing the appeal of the country as a tourist destination.


Overall, France’s tourism industry caters to a diverse range of interests, making it a sought-after destination for travelers of all kinds. Its unique blend of history, culture, natural beauty, and culinary delights have positioned it as a top choice among tourists worldwide.


Revenue Generated from Tourist Arrivals

The tourism industry plays a significant role in France’s economy, contributing a substantial amount of revenue. In 2019, the total tourism revenue reached a staggering €56.1 billion, accounting for 7.4% of the country’s GDP. This revenue is generated from various sources, including accommodations, transportation, food and beverages, entertainment, and retail.


Accommodation is a major source of revenue in the tourism sector. France offers a wide range of options, from luxury hotels in major cities to charming bed and breakfasts in the countryside. The revenue generated from accommodations alone amounts to several billion euros annually.


Transportation is another significant revenue generator. Tourists often rely on planes, trains, and buses to travel within the country. France’s extensive transportation network, including high-speed trains and well-connected airports, ensures convenient access to different regions, boosting tourism revenue.


Food and beverages also contribute to France’s tourism revenue as visitors indulge in the country’s world-renowned cuisine. Whether it’s dining at Michelin-starred restaurants, sampling local delicacies from street markets, or sipping wines from prestigious vineyards, tourists’ gastronomic experiences generate substantial income for the country.


Entertainment and attractions are key contributors to tourism revenue as well. From iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Mont Saint-Michel to theme parks like Disneyland Paris, these attractions draw millions of visitors each year, generating significant income through ticket sales and related expenditures.


Shopping is another aspect of tourism revenue that should not be overlooked. France is synonymous with fashion, and Paris, in particular, is a fashion capital of the world. Tourists flock to luxury boutiques, department stores, and designer outlets, contributing to the retail sector’s revenue.


Overall, the revenue generated from tourist arrivals in France is multi-faceted, with accommodations, transportation, food and beverages, entertainment, and retail sectors all playing vital roles. This revenue not only supports the tourism industry but also has a ripple effect on other sectors of the economy, creating jobs and generating additional income.


Contribution of Tourism to France’s GDP

Tourism is a significant contributor to France’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), playing a vital role in the country’s economy. In 2019, tourism directly contributed €170 billion to France’s GDP, accounting for 7.4% of the total GDP.


The direct contribution of tourism includes the revenue generated from accommodation, transportation, food and beverages, entertainment, and retail. However, the impact of tourism goes beyond these direct contributions and extends to indirect and induced effects.


Indirect contributions of tourism to the GDP are seen through the supply chain. The tourism industry creates demand for goods and services from various sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing, construction, and retail. For example, hotels depend on locally sourced food and beverages, which, in turn, supports agricultural and food processing sectors.


The induced effect of tourism refers to the income generated by people directly or indirectly employed in the tourism industry, which they spend on goods and services within the economy. This spending further boosts economic activity, creating a multiplier effect.


Additionally, tourism plays a crucial role in job creation. It is estimated that the tourism industry in France directly employs more than 2 million people. Jobs in the sector range from hotel staff and tour guides to restaurant workers and transportation personnel. Indirectly, tourism supports employment in various related industries, contributing to overall employment rates.


The importance of tourism to France’s GDP cannot be overstated. It helps diversify the economy, reduce unemployment rates, and stimulate economic growth. Moreover, tourism contributes to regional development, as visitors often explore different parts of the country, promoting tourism in lesser-known areas and supporting local businesses.


However, it is crucial to note that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted France’s tourism industry, with travel restrictions and lockdown measures leading to a decline in tourist arrivals and revenue. As the world recovers from the pandemic, France is implementing strategies to revive and strengthen its tourism sector, ensuring its continued contribution to the country’s GDP.


Breakdown of Tourism Revenue Sources

Tourism revenue in France is derived from various sources, each contributing to the overall economic impact of the industry. Let’s take a closer look at the breakdown of these revenue sources:

  1. Accommodation: Accommodation forms a significant portion of tourism revenue in France. This includes revenue from hotels, resorts, vacation rentals, and other lodging options. France offers a diverse range of accommodations to cater to different preferences and budgets, contributing substantially to the tourism sector’s revenue.
  2. Transportation: Transportation plays a vital role in tourism revenue. It encompasses revenue generated from air travel, train services, bus tours, and car rentals. France’s well-connected transportation network ensures easy access for domestic and international travelers, ensuring a steady income stream for the transportation sector.
  3. Food and Beverages: France’s culinary scene is renowned worldwide, and dining experiences contribute significantly to tourism revenue. From Michelin-starred restaurants to charming cafés and street vendors, visitors indulge in the country’s gastronomy. The revenue from dining establishments, as well as food and wine experiences, adds a substantial boost to tourism revenue.
  4. Entertainment and Attractions: The entertainment sector is a significant contributor to tourism revenue. Popular attractions such as museums, historical sites, art galleries, theme parks, and cultural events draw tourists from all over the world. Revenue generated from entrance fees, ticket sales, and related expenditures add to the overall tourism revenue.
  5. Retail: Shopping is an integral part of the tourism experience, and France offers ample opportunities for retail therapy. From luxury boutiques and renowned fashion houses to local markets and specialty stores, tourists indulge in shopping for fashion, souvenirs, and local products. Retail sales contribute a substantial share to tourism revenue.
  6. Other Expenditures: Besides the main sources mentioned above, there are other expenditures that contribute to tourism revenue. This includes expenditures on guided tours, outdoor activities, spa and wellness services, nightlife experiences, and more. These additional expenditures enhance the overall tourism revenue and contribute to the local economy.

The breakdown of these tourism revenue sources illustrates the diverse income streams that support the industry. Each source plays a role in attracting and satisfying the needs of tourists, contributing to France’s vibrant tourism sector as well as the country’s overall economic growth.


Popular Tourist Destinations in France

France is a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, offering a plethora of popular tourist destinations. Here are some of the top destinations that captivate the hearts of millions of visitors:

  1. Paris: The “City of Light” tops the list of popular tourist destinations in France. Paris is home to iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Champs-Élysées. Visitors immerse themselves in the city’s charm, exploring its picturesque streets, exquisite architecture, world-class shopping, and renowned cuisine.
  2. French Riviera: The French Riviera, also known as the Côte d’Azur, is a glamorous and sun-kissed stretch along the Mediterranean coast. It is famous for its pristine beaches, luxury resorts, and vibrant cities like Nice, Cannes, and Saint-Tropez. The region offers a perfect blend of relaxation, entertainment, and natural beauty.
  3. Provence: Provence is a region in southeastern France known for its captivating landscapes, charming villages, and lavender fields. Towns like Aix-en-Provence and Avignon showcase a rich history and architectural gems, while the hilltop villages of Gordes and Roussillon offer breathtaking views. Provence’s vibrant markets, vineyards, and delightful cuisine add to its allure.
  4. Loire Valley: The Loire Valley, located in central France, is famous for its stunning châteaux and picturesque countryside. It is home to more than 300 castles, including Château de Chambord and Château de Chenonceau, showcasing exquisite Renaissance architectural beauty. The region is also known for its vineyards, producing some of France’s finest wines.
  5. Mont Saint-Michel: Located off the Normandy coast, Mont Saint-Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage site and an architectural marvel. This ancient abbey sits atop a rocky outcrop surrounded by tidal waters, offering a breathtaking sight. Visitors can explore the narrow cobblestone streets, visit the abbey, and witness the stunning views of the changing tides.
  6. Alsace: The Alsace region, located in eastern France along the border with Germany, is famous for its charming villages, vineyards, and fairytale-like landscapes. Towns like Strasbourg, Colmar, and Riquewihr feature half-timbered houses, flower-filled streets, and vibrant Christmas markets. The region also boasts a unique blend of French and German cultures and traditions.
  7. French Alps: France’s Alpine region offers breathtaking mountain landscapes and world-class ski resorts. Destinations like Chamonix, Courchevel, and Megève attract winter sports enthusiasts from around the globe. In the summer, the Alps provide opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and enjoying the fresh alpine air.

These are just a few examples of the many popular tourist destinations in France. Whether you’re seeking art and culture, stunning natural landscapes, historical landmarks, or culinary delights, France offers a wide array of experiences that captivate the imaginations of travelers from all walks of life.


Factors Impacting France’s Tourism Revenue

France’s tourism revenue is influenced by various factors that can have both positive and negative impacts on the industry. Understanding these factors is essential for assessing the overall performance and growth potential of the tourism sector. Here are some key factors that shape France’s tourism revenue:

  1. Economic Conditions: The state of the global and domestic economy plays a crucial role in determining tourism revenue. During periods of economic growth, people have more disposable income and are more likely to spend on travel. Conversely, during economic downturns or recessions, travel expenditures may decrease as individuals prioritize essential expenses over leisure activities.
  2. Currency Exchange Rates: Currency exchange rates can significantly impact tourism revenue. Fluctuations in exchange rates can either attract or deter tourists from visiting France. When the euro is weak compared to other currencies, it becomes more affordable for international tourists, potentially increasing their spending and contributing to higher tourism revenue.
  3. Safety and Security: Safety and security are crucial considerations for tourists when choosing a destination. Unrest, terrorism threats, or high crime rates can negatively impact tourism revenue as visitors may perceive the destination as unsafe. Implementing effective security measures and maintaining a positive reputation for safety contribute to attracting tourists and boosting revenue.
  4. Natural and Environmental Factors: Natural disasters, extreme weather events, or environmental issues can disrupt tourism and affect revenue. For example, adverse weather conditions can impact ski resorts or coastal destinations, while environmental concerns like pollution or natural habitat degradation can deter eco-tourists.
  5. Political Stability: Political stability and government policies have a significant influence on tourism revenue. Stable political environments encourage investment in the tourism sector and attract more tourists. Conversely, political instability, conflicts, or changes in government policies can lead to a decline in tourism revenue.
  6. Infrastructure and Accessibility: The quality of infrastructure and accessibility directly impacts tourism revenue. Well-developed transportation networks, efficient airports, and reliable public transportation make it easier for tourists to visit different regions in France. Adequate accommodation options, tourist facilities, and tourist-friendly infrastructure contribute to a positive visitor experience and increase revenue.
  7. Marketing and Promotion: Effective marketing and promotion efforts play a crucial role in attracting tourists and boosting revenue. France’s tourism authorities and businesses need to invest in strategic marketing campaigns to showcase the country’s unique attractions, cultural experiences, and gastronomic offerings. Collaborations with travel platforms, travel agencies, and digital marketing initiatives are vital for increasing brand awareness and driving tourism revenue.

These factors, among others, shape the performance of France’s tourism industry and have a direct impact on tourism revenue. By understanding and responding to these influences, France can continue to attract visitors, optimize revenue streams, and ensure sustainable growth in its tourism sector.


Government Initiatives to Promote Tourism

The French government recognizes the importance of tourism and has implemented various initiatives to promote the country as a premier tourist destination. These initiatives aim to drive tourism revenue, attract more visitors, and ensure a sustainable growth of the tourism industry. Here are some key government initiatives in France:

  1. Tourism Marketing Campaigns: The French government, in collaboration with tourism boards, regularly launches targeted marketing campaigns to showcase the country’s tourist attractions. These campaigns leverage digital platforms, social media, and traditional advertising to reach international audiences, highlight different regions, and promote the diverse experiences that France has to offer.
  2. Investment in Infrastructure: The government has made significant investments in improving tourism infrastructure. This includes upgrading transportation networks, renovating historical sites and landmarks, enhancing visitor facilities, and ensuring better connectivity between major tourist destinations. These infrastructure developments enhance the overall visitor experience and encourage tourism revenue.
  3. Cultural Preservation and Promotion: France takes pride in its rich cultural heritage, and the government undertakes initiatives to preserve and promote its cultural assets. This includes supporting local festivals, exhibitions, and events that showcase French heritage, arts, and traditions. Such initiatives not only attract cultural tourists but also contribute to the preservation of France’s unique identity.
  4. Support for Tourism Businesses: The French government provides support and incentives to tourism businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This includes grants, loans, and tax benefits to encourage the development and growth of tourism-related enterprises. By supporting these businesses, the government aims to promote entrepreneurship, create employment opportunities, and diversify the tourism offerings.
  5. Sustainable Tourism Initiatives: France is committed to promoting sustainable tourism practices. The government encourages eco-friendly initiatives, such as energy-efficient accommodations, waste management systems, and promoting responsible tourism behaviors. The aim is to preserve natural resources, minimize the impact of tourism on the environment, and ensure the long-term sustainability of the country’s tourism industry.
  6. Regional Development: The government focuses on promoting tourism in lesser-known regions to distribute visitor traffic more evenly across the country. This includes supporting local tourism boards, investing in infrastructure in rural areas, and encouraging the development of unique experiences in these regions. The aim is to showcase the diverse offerings of various regions and create economic opportunities beyond the major tourist hubs.
  7. Enhanced Visitor Experiences: The government strives to enhance the overall visitor experience in France. This includes initiatives to improve tourism services, ensuring high-quality hospitality, multilingual staff, and access to information for tourists. Efforts are also made to facilitate visa processes, ease travel restrictions, and enhance safety and security measures to provide a welcoming environment for visitors.

These government initiatives play a pivotal role in promoting France as a top tourist destination. By investing in marketing, infrastructure, cultural preservation, business support, sustainability, regional development, and visitor experiences, the government aims to foster growth in the tourism sector and ensure the long-term success of France’s tourism industry.


Challenges Faced by France’s Tourism Industry

While France’s tourism industry is robust and flourishing, it faces several challenges that impact its growth and revenue. Understanding these challenges is essential for developing strategies to overcome them. Here are some key challenges faced by France’s tourism industry:

  1. Global Economic Uncertainty: Economic fluctuations and uncertainty on a global scale can have a significant impact on the tourism industry. Economic downturns can lead to reduced travel budgets and decreased demand for international travel, affecting tourism revenue in France.
  2. Seasonality: Seasonality poses a challenge to France’s tourism industry. Popular tourist destinations, especially coastal areas and ski resorts, experience high visitation during specific seasons, resulting in fluctuations in revenue throughout the year. Extending the tourist season and promoting off-peak travel can help mitigate this challenge.
  3. Competition from Other Destinations: France faces stiff competition from other global destinations. Countries with similar offerings, such as Italy and Spain, as well as emerging destinations, attract tourists who might have otherwise chosen to visit France. To maintain its market share, France must continuously innovate and differentiate its tourism offerings.
  4. Security and Safety Concerns: Security and safety concerns, including terrorism and petty crime, can adversely affect tourism. Negative perceptions about safety can deter potential visitors, especially in crowded tourist hotspots. The government’s efforts to maintain and enhance safety measures are crucial in addressing this challenge.
  5. Environmental Sustainability: Balancing tourism growth with environmental sustainability is a challenge faced by France’s tourism industry. Popular destinations may experience strain on natural resources, increased waste, and environmental degradation. Promoting responsible tourism practices, encouraging sustainable initiatives, and minimizing environmental impacts are essential for the long-term viability of the industry.
  6. Infrastructure Limitations: Despite significant investments, infrastructure limitations still exist in certain regions. Insufficient transportation options, overcrowding at tourist sites, and lack of tourist facilities can diminish the visitor experience. Continuous improvements and regional development initiatives are necessary to alleviate these infrastructure challenges.
  7. Changing Travel Preferences: Travel preferences and trends evolve over time. Changes in consumer behavior, such as the rise of alternative accommodations and a shift towards experiential travel, can impact traditional tourism revenue streams. Adapting to evolving traveler preferences and embracing new trends is crucial for staying relevant in the competitive tourism industry.

Addressing these challenges requires collaboration between the government, tourism industry stakeholders, and local communities. By implementing strategic measures to tackle economic uncertainties, diversify tourism offerings, ensure safety and security, promote sustainability, improve infrastructure, and adapt to changing travel preferences, France can overcome these challenges and continue to thrive as a top global tourist destination.


Future Prospects for France’s Tourism Industry

The future prospects for France’s tourism industry are promising, despite the challenges it currently faces. The country’s rich history, cultural heritage, diverse landscapes, and renowned gastronomy continue to attract tourists from around the world. Here are some factors that contribute to the positive outlook for France’s tourism industry:

  1. Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic: The tourism industry has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with travel restrictions and lockdown measures leading to a significant decline in tourist arrivals. However, as the world recovers from the pandemic and travel resumes, France is expected to experience a rebound in tourism. The pent-up demand for travel, combined with France’s allure as a destination, bodes well for the recovery and future growth of the tourism sector.
  2. Strong Cultural and Natural Attractions: France’s cultural heritage, historic landmarks, and stunning natural landscapes are timeless attractions that continue to captivate travelers. From iconic sites like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum to the picturesque French Riviera and charming countryside villages, these attractions provide enduring appeal and form a strong foundation for future tourism growth.
  3. Focus on Sustainable Tourism: France is committed to promoting sustainable tourism practices. The emphasis on sustainability aligns with the growing global awareness of environmental issues and the increasing demand for responsible travel. By promoting eco-friendly initiatives, minimizing the environmental impact of tourism, and supporting sustainable tourism businesses, France can position itself as a leading destination for conscious travelers seeking sustainable experiences.
  4. Investment in Infrastructure and Regional Development: The French government continues to invest in infrastructure and regional development to enhance the visitor experience and broaden the tourism offerings beyond the major tourist hubs. By improving transportation networks, revitalizing historical sites, and supporting local tourism initiatives, France can attract visitors to lesser-known regions, promoting a more balanced and sustainable tourism model.
  5. Digital Transformation and Innovation: The tourism industry is embracing technology and digital innovation to enhance the visitor experience. France is keeping pace with these advancements by introducing digital platforms, mobile apps, and virtual tours. This integration of technology and innovation can offer new opportunities to engage with travelers, provide personalized experiences, and promote France’s tourism offerings to a global audience.
  6. Strong Brand Image and Tourism Marketing: France has long been associated with elegance, sophistication, and a unique way of life. The country’s strong brand image and international recognition provide a solid foundation for marketing efforts. By continuing to invest in strategic tourism marketing campaigns, collaborations with travel platforms, and digital advertising, France can maintain and grow its market share in the highly competitive global tourism industry.

While challenges exist, the future prospects for France’s tourism industry remain promising. By capitalizing on its rich cultural heritage, diverse landscapes, sustainable tourism practices, digital innovation, and strong brand image, France can position itself as a top choice for travelers seeking unforgettable experiences. With continued strategic planning and collaboration between the government, tourism stakeholders, and local communities, France’s tourism industry is poised for a bright future.



France’s tourism industry is a vital pillar of the country’s economy, attracting millions of visitors each year with its unparalleled blend of history, culture, natural beauty, and gastronomy. The revenue generated from tourism plays a significant role in supporting local businesses, creating employment opportunities, and contributing to France’s GDP.


Despite facing challenges such as economic uncertainties, competition from other destinations, and environmental sustainability concerns, France’s tourism industry remains resilient and poised for growth. The country’s strong cultural and natural attractions, commitment to sustainability, focus on infrastructure development, and emphasis on digital transformation set the stage for a prosperous future.


The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had a significant impact on the tourism sector, but as travel resumes and restrictions ease, France’s allure as a top global destination will once again shine through. The recovery and resurgence of the tourism industry are expected as pent-up demand for travel is unleashed and individuals seek to explore the beauty and charm of France.


The French government’s initiatives to promote tourism, invest in infrastructure, support sustainable practices, and enhance the visitor experience are essential factors in driving the industry forward. By continuing to adapt to changing travel preferences, embracing innovation, and strategically marketing its offerings, France can maintain its position as a premier tourist destination and attract a diverse range of travelers.


In conclusion, France’s tourism industry holds immense potential for future growth and success. With its rich heritage, iconic landmarks, picturesque landscapes, and world-class cuisine, France continues to captivate the imaginations of travelers from around the world. By addressing challenges, embracing sustainable practices, and leveraging its unique strengths, France’s tourism industry can pave the way for a prosperous future, ensuring memorable experiences for visitors and contributing to the country’s economic vitality.