Mad About Paris, Much more than a guide
Paris, the world’s number one tourist destination, had been suffering a lot from the fallout of the financial crisis. Last year, foreign visitors were down about 20% compared to 2008. Crisis-stricken British, US, Chinese and even Russian tourists just stayed at home.
But it’s all over now. That’s at least what the official statistics are saying. New figures have just been published. And I bet the bean counters in the “Office du Tourisme” downed a bottle of Champagne yesterday: the tourists are back! Not that they ever disappeared completely, but the decrease was tangible for the tourism industry in Paris and in France.
Officials see the reason for the increase in the fall of the Euro compared to the Dollar and first signs of an end to the economic crisis. Americans are still the number one visitors in Paris, followed by British tourists. But this might change soon, as Chinese tourists are arriving in large numbers: the number of hotel beds booked by Chinese visitors has increased by 33,6%. Officials estimate that they will soon be in the second place and push the British back to third. The surge in visitors arriving from the Middle East is also impressive: their number has increased by about 30% compared to last year.
And where do all these tourists rush to? The Eiffel Tower, of course. With 800 000 visitors in July alone, all records have been broken. The Eiffel Tower remains, with 6,6 million visitors last year (2009), the most visited monument of Paris. Anyone who wants to visit the tower should reserve a ticket online.
I don’t know how you feel about the news; I think it’s quite reassuring. Paris is still Paris and people love it. They come for the beauty, for the culture, but ask any tourist, and they always say: we’re here because it’s the City of love. The myth will never die. As long as we all keep believing in it.