A Record Year for Travel

  • Tour de France race

    Tour de France race

    © Tour de France

  • Atout France - French Government Tourist Office

    Atout France - French Government Tourist Office

    © Atout France

A Record Year for Travel

New York – February 4, 2013
Atout France - France Tourism Development Agency announces 2012 as record year for American travel to France.


"Initially, we projected an increase from 3 to 4 percent over 2011 for American travel to France," said Anne-Laure Tuncer, Director USA of Atout France. "But because of a remarkable 14 percent spike in hotel stays in the second semester of 2012, we are now projecting a minimum of a 6 to 7 percent increase, which means, when all is said and counted, that over 3.5 million Americans will have visited France in 2012," she continued.

The French Ministry of Tourism also announced that an estimated 81.2 million foreign visitors came to France in 2012, keeping France in the number one spot as the world's leading travel destination.

The upward trend and strong recovery of several sectors of travel to France since 2010 continues in areas such as luxury travel, meetings and incentives, along with family travel and cruises. Cruise passenger visits to France have nearly doubled from 1.034 to 2.010 million between 2005 and 2010. France, according to the European Cruise Council, has become Europe's fourth cruise destination.

"2013 is expected to be a very good year, because there are so many exciting events and developments that should be of great interest to the American traveler," said Ms. Tuncer. "Culture and major anniversaries will be in the forefront. As we speak, Marseille-Provence is the European Capital of Culture, making now the perfect time to visit this historic city and legendary region. Among the main events in this year-long celebration is the opening of the ultra-modern Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MUCEM) in early June, which is located along the entrance to Marseille's historic harbor," she continued.

Anne-Laure Tuncer also underscored that 2013 is the year of Normandy's biennial Impressionist Festival, which will take place from April to September and feature five major exhibitions, including one in Rouen and one in Le Havre, home to two of France's largest Impressionist collections. In addition to these major events there are several notable milestones being celebrated this year, including the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France, the 400th anniversary of the father of the French-style garden Andre Le Notre, and the 850th birthday of Notre Dame de Paris.

Also in the news is an Air France seasonal flight from Minneapolis to Paris to start on May 21, the inauguration of a non-stop New York to Marseille route flown by XL Airways, and two very convenient direct flights from Miami to both Martinique and Guadeloupe operated by American Airlines to begin on April 6.

Ms. Tuncer closed by saying, "There are so many reasons to go to France this year that we expect a minimum of a 3 to 4 percent increase in U.S. travel to France in 2013. And here is one more reason. I would highly recommend experiencing the stunning Louvre-Lens Museum which just opened in Northern France. It is only an hour and 15 minutes from Paris by high-speed train and it is the perfect way to see over 200 masterpieces from the Paris Louvre in a spacious and contemporary setting, and a great opportunity to discover the lesser-known region of Nord/Pas de Calais France. We hope you will Rendez-Vous in France with us in 2013."

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