Indian tourists to France spend more than the rest

New Delhi, Nov 27 ( The French government has stepped up efforts to attract tourists from India, who spend an average of $275 daily in Paris, more than the $220 by other visitors.

“About 200,000 Indians visited France last year and stayed for an average of five days,” said Nicolas Barret, deputy director of Paris Ile-de-France Regional Tourist Board, the agency that promotes inbound tourism to the French capital region.

“With its economy booming and Indians increasingly looking at foreign travel options, this market is very exciting and important to us,” Barret, here on a five-day roadshow called French Connection, told IANS in an interview.

According to data available with Paris Ile-de-France and Atout France, the national promotional agency for the entire French tourism sector, the average age of Indian visitors was about 34, again lower than the 40 years overall average age for all visitors.

France is looking to increase its share of total tourist arrivals from last year’s 79.3 million.

According to Atout director Catherine Oden, France saw a dip in tourist inflow last year due to depressed sentiments as a result of the financial crisis and, to an extent, the swine flu scare.

“But we hope to increase our share in the next few years,” Oden told Inditop.

As part of the effort to boost tourist inflow, a lot of regions in France are selling themselves across different economic categories.

“You can either go to lavish parties, stay at luxurious hotels, dine with princes and princesses at their castles or just opt for a bed and breakfast option,” said Oden.

“We are trying to showcase the regions of France, each with its unique picturesque beauty, a destination in its own right.”

Though France attracts the largest number of international tourists, the US with its 58 million overseas visitors is the highest earner.

While France netted about $55.6 billion from tourism-related activities, the earning for the US was $110 billion.

“This is because people stay longer in the US and end up spending more,” said Barret.