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France needs to revamp tourism role

Latest update : 2008-04-03

2007 was a record year for tourism worldwide. The number of tourists hit the 9 million mark, up over 6% on 2006. France remains the world's top destination, but ranks only third in terms of revenue. (Report: K. Hakiki, J. Jackson)

Paris is attracting fewer American tourists because of the weak dollar and the US economic downturn, the Paris tourism office said on March 25.

Some 1.5 million Americans visited the City of Light in 2007, a drop of 5.5 percent, and fewer still came to Paris in January when the figure fell 14 percent year-on-year, according to tourism office figures.

"US visitor arrivals have been falling since June... and this trend has grown since January," said Paris tourism office director Paul Roll.

The drop in US visitors comes as Paris records a rise in the overall number of foreign tourists, which increased by 2.3 percent last year to 8.76 million, with more bookings from Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Americans, who still make up the largest number of foreign tourists to Paris, shunned France between 2001 and 2003 following the September 11 attacks and the Franco-American row over the US invasion of Iraq.

But bookings from the United States went up again in 2004.

Roll said tourist arrivals for 2007 were "overall good" despite the drop in American visitors.

Date created : 2008-04-03