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TOURISM

Paris named world’s ‘most powerful tourist destination’

Paris - a city known and loved for its food, culture and fashion - was the ‘most powerful’ tourist destination in the world in 2022, researchers have said, after showing a strong bounce-back after the pandemic.

Paris named world's 'most powerful tourist destination’
Visitors taking pictures at sunset in front of the Eiffel Tower. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

The non-profit World Travel & Tourism Council, which has studied the economic impact of travel and tourism across 185 countries for the past 30 years, came to the conclusion that more money was spent on and generated by tourism in the City of Light than in any other city on the planet.

The study examined tourism’s contribution to GDP, employment and traveller spend.

The organisation’s top 10 was dominated by US and Chinese cities, while London slipped in at ninth in the listing.

But Paris took the crown as the world’s most powerful city destination. Its travel and tourism industry was worth almost $36 billion (€33.2 billion) in 2022, in terms of direct GDP contribution to the city.

In total, 34.5 million tourists visited Paris in 2022, according to the Observatoire de l’Office du tourisme de Paris, figures approaching 2019 levels, as visitors returned after the Covid-19 pandemic – and a marked increase on the 19 million recorded in 2021.

Some 5.8 million visitors headed to the Eiffel Tower, 7.8 million people visited the Louvre Museum, and 6.9 million admissions were recorded for the Château de Versailles, all nudging back towards pre pandemic levels.

But the 2024 Olympic Games is a key reason for Paris’s place at the top of the pile, with the city making significant investments in terms of infrastructure and security in preparation for the event.

The WTTC has predicted that, although tourism’s overall benefit to the Paris economy will rise to $49 billion in 10 years, the city will drop to third in the overall list as rivals – notably Beijing, which is expected to see the tourist economy boost its GDP to the tune of $77 billion – up their tourism game.

“Major cities such as London, Paris, and New York will remain global powerhouses but over the next few years, Beijing, Shanghai and Macau will be moving up the list of top city destinations,” the organisation said as it published the results of its 2022 study. 

“Tourists will always have favourite cities that they will return to, but as other countries prioritise travel and tourism, we are going to see new and emerging destinations challenging the traditional favourites.” 

The top 10 most powerful tourist cities in the world in 2022 were, according to the WTTC:

  1. Paris, France
  2. Beijing, China
  3. Orlando, US
  4. Shanghai, China
  5. Las Vegas, US
  6. New York, US
  7. Tokyo, Japan
  8. Mexico City, Mexico
  9. London, UK
  10. Guangzhou, China

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FOOD & DRINK

Paris bakers bounce back with sharp rise in number of city boulangeries

If you’ve convinced yourself that the delicious and tempting aroma of baking bread seems a little more pronounced in Paris then your scent suspicions are accurate, according to new figures showing a strong growth in the number of boulangeries in the capital.

Paris bakers bounce back with sharp rise in number of city boulangeries

You might think that the busy pace of big city life would put paid to the tradition of going to a traditional boulangerie to buy your daily bread.

But after several years in which number of boulangeries in and around the capital did indeed decline, 110 new bakeries were listed by the Chambre des métiers et de l’artisanat (CMA) d’Île-de-France in 2022.

In the 20 arrondissements of Paris, there are now 1,360 bakeries – a jump of nine percent in the past five years. Twenty years ago, there were only 1,000 boulangeries in the capital.

Moving out into the greater Paris Île de France region, the number of boulangeries has jumped an average of 20 percent – and as much as 35 percent in the département of Seine-Saint-Denis. 

READ ALSO MAPS: How many Parisians live more than 5 minutes from a boulangerie?

They’re busy, too. According to CMA figures, Parisian boulangeries bake between 500 and 800 baguettes a day, compared to an average of 300 across France, and sell a variety of artisan-made breads and pastries.

That’s in spite of repeated crises – from the yellow vest protests and pandemic confinement, to the rising cost-of-living and soaring energy bills.

The CMA has said it has contacted every one of the bakers in Paris to find out how they are coping with rising bills, while an estimated 50 advisers are conducting energy audits to find ways for individual bakers to save money.

The secret of modern boulangers’ survival is not much of a secret – diversification.

“The profile of the artisan is not the same as it was fifty years ago, when making good bread was enough,” Jean-Yves Bourgois, secretary general of the CMA of Île-de-France, told Le Parisien. “They are much more dynamic: the offer is much wider, and they have been able to keep up with customers’ demand.”

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Bakeries have increasingly established themselves as an alternative to the fast-food kebab houses and burger bars by developing their product lines to include salads, sandwiches and warm meals for takeaway. Many also have an attached café or terrace for customers to while away their time.

As well as diversifying, bakers are consolidating. “Networks of artisanal bakeries (Kayser, Landemaine, Sevin, etc.) are expanding, and more and more Parisian artisans are managing several stores,” the Professional Association of Bakers in Greater Paris said.

“There have been other crises and we have held on. The bakery industry still has a lot of good years ahead of it,” Franck Thomasse, president of the professional association, said.

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