France

France

From 22 May we will be working to update all of the data and documents on this page following the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revision of the International Passenger Survey (IPS) data for 2009-2018 and the released detailed 2019 data. UK data will be updated first and followed by the regional data from 27 May. Please be patient as we update these pages or contact the VisitBritain research team if you have any questions- VB/VEResearch@visitbritain.org. Thank you.

Visitor characteristics

  • Most trips are by those aged 25-44, but the cohort of 45-54
  • Almost three-in-five holiday visitors from France (excluding British nationals) are making a repeat trip to Britain (within ten years)
  • 30% of visiting friends and relatives (VFR) visitors from France are British nationals
  • 98% of departing visitors (excluding British nationals) are ‘likely’ or ‘extremely likely’ to recommend a visit to Britain

Popular activities

Dining in a restaurant

Sightseeing of Famous Buildings/ Monuments

Went Shopping

Global context

Measure2019
International tourism expenditure (US$bn)51.7
Global rank for international tourism expenditure5
Number of outbound visits (m)52.8
Most visited destinationSpain

Key demographic and economic data

Measure2019
Population (m)67.1
GDP per capita PPP (US$)42,675
Annual average GDP growth over past decade (%)1.4
Annual average GDP growth in the past year (%)1.5

Inbound visits to Britain from France

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Number of visits

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Total expenditure (GBP)

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Average spend per visit (GBP)

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What the French think about Britain

  • The French rate the UK highly for culture in general, contemporary culture, sport, vibrant cities, cultural heritage and historic buildings, but less for welcome and scenic natural beauty; the UK was rated 19th and 33rd out of fifty nations repectively on these two attributes in 2019
  • Music and museums are the cultural products or services most strongly associated with the UK among the French
  • Australia, Italy and the US are the destinations most likely to be seen as the ‘best place’ for delivering on factors the French most ‘want’ from a destination
  • Areas of strength for Britain include the ‘ease of getting around’, ‘good shopping’, ‘being somewhere to see famous sites’ and for ‘lots of history’ and to ‘watch sporting events’ while very few consider Britain as the ‘best place for ‘food and drink’
  • Activities that appeal to potential French visitors include ‘riding the scenic 'Hogwarts Express' (Harry Potter train) through the Scottish Highlands', 'taking a canal boat tour through the waterways of England', 'spotting wildlife in the Scottish Highlands', 'going on a food tour of one of London's best foodie markets' and 'visiting Windsor Castle'.

Caring for visitors

  • The French are keen to have information provided in their own language when in Britain
  • They prefer to stay in mid-range accommodation including bed and breakfasts, with en-suite facilities. Country house hotels are popular in France and a good benchmark for the value for money levels expected.
  • Youth travellers prefer to opt for youth hostels or university accommodation as they tend to be more price-sensitive
  • Expectation levels for standards and services are high – any issues should be resolved promptly

The leisure & travel trade

  • The trade structure is quite complex and fragmented - made up of tour operators and travel agencies (online and offline), with associations and social clubs playing an important role
  • November-December and May-September are the main planning periods
  • Tour operators are mainly based in Paris

 

Access to Britain from France

Measure2019
Weekly aircraft departures955
Weekly seat capacity144,596
Airports with direct routes in France39
Airports with direct routes in Britain22
Eurostar trains per day from Paris19
Weekly ferry crossings781
Weekly Eurotunnel Shuttles343
  • Slightly more visitors reach Britain from France by plane than through the Channel Tunnel
  • Airline seat capacity is highly seasonal but is largely shaped by demand for travel to France by holidaying Britons
  • Routes with the highest capacity are those operating from Paris to London
  • French visitors flying home from Britain pay £13 in Air Passenger Duty