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Bangkok and France fight it out for ‘favourite holiday destination’

For most of us, the holiday season has well and truly arrived, so where do those travelling abroad go, and where is good for the rest of us to look into booking?

UN figures have suggested that France has had more foreign visitors than any other country in 2012, but the world’s most visited capital city is in fact, Bangkok.

83 million tourists visited France last year, more than it’s current population of around 66 million. The lure of the Alpine ski resorts and the Mediterranean resorts ensure that it has kept it’s top spot in the world’s favourite holiday destinations for the many years that statistics like this have been produced in.

France attracts, on average, at least 16 million more visitors than the United States, which sits in second place, with China, Spain and Italy completing the list of the top five most visited countries in the world.

However, despite it’s seemingly overwhelming popularity as a holiday destination, the French seem to have a problem in convincing people to part with their hard-earned money.

Tourism in France contributes to a huge 7% of the country’s economy, but the average tourist only spends around £423 – a figure well below countries like German (where average spend is £820), the UK (£815) the USA (£1,253) and Macau, where visitors spend a staggering £2,100 each in the countries infamous casinos.

Understandably, due to France’s central Europe location, 83% of French tourists come from other European countries, which could explain the relatively low amount spent by each individual. A lot of them come from neighbouring countries and often choose to camp and buy food from the local supermarkets as opposed to eat out and stay in luxurious hotels.

The French capital Paris, famous for being one of the most iconic cities in Europe as well as being the famous ‘city of love’ actually only lures in 16.8% of the French tourists.

When it comes to most-visited capital city in the world, its Bangkok. . The city has experiences a huge rise in tourists, with an average of 16 million visitors per year going through the Thai capital – a figure narrowly ahead of London.

Chinese tourists are largely to thank for the significant rise in tourist numbers, along with the flocks of student backpackers which tour Asia during their gap years or time off from studying. The film Lost in Thailand overtook blockbuster Avatar last year to become China’s highest grossing film and enticed thousands of Chinese tourists into the country.

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