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Paris tourism having record year

AFP · 25 Aug 2011, 11:02

Published: 25 Aug 2011 11:02 GMT+02:00

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The City of Light is attracting visitors in record numbers this year, Paris officials said on Wednesday, as tourism remains buoyant despite the concerns over a possible return to recession.

The number of tourists rose 3.5 percent in the first half of the year to a record 7.6 million, according to Paris tourism office director Paul Roll.  

The hotel occupancy rate rose to 78.3 percent to its best reading in a decade, with the average cost of rooms rising 7.8 percent to €158.40 ($228.56).  

Revenue per room, a key indicator of the profitability of the sector, rose 11.6 percent to €127.60.  

For 2011 the increase in number of tourists should come in at around three percent, Roth forecast, a figure that is "better than good".  

Despite the weak dollar, the number of American tourists increased by 4.0 percent in the first half of the year to 600,000.  

Arrivals from Latin America, Middle East and eastern Europe showed strong gains.  

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The difficult economic situation in the European Union has hit numbers from France's neighbours. Visitors from Germany dropped 5.9 percent, Spain 5.8 percent and Britain 3.0 percent.  

France is the top tourism destination in the world. The sector accounts directly for four percent of the French economy and nine percent indirectly, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

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