France is set to cement itself as the most visited country in the world, according to GlobalData, which estimates that the country will attract 93.7 million international travelers by 2025. The analytics company specified that the forecast would place the country ahead of competitor, Spain, which overtook France in 2021.
According GlobalData’s ‘Tourism Destination Market Insight: Western Europe (2022)’, France held the title of most visited country in the world prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, welcoming 88.1 million visitors in 2019. It was, however, overtaken by Spain in 2021.
France is one of the top Western European destinations for US travelersHannah Free, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData
Having attracted 66.6 million international visitors in 2022, France is now set to re-claim the title, with the number of international arrivals expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.1% between 2022 and 2025.
Alongside Italy and Spain, France represents a significant segment of the growth in Western Europe, GlobalData reports. The country is not only popular with travelers from Europe itself—especially the UK, Germany and Belgium—but it is also popular with visitors from further afield, including China and the United States.
Spain received 26.3 million visitors in 2021, overtaking France to become the most visited Western European destination. By 2025, Spain is expected to attract 89.5 million international visitors (CAGR of 12.2% between 2022 and 2025).
Visitation to France and Spain will remain strong in the years to come.Hannah Free, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData
According to the analytics company, both Spain and France have a lot to offer visitors, with their own unique cultures, cuisines, and atmospheres. Both countries are also relatively large, with a diverse and varied landscape, and each country has its own unique coastline. “Festivals, culture and gastronomy are a big pull for tourists,” said Hanna Free.
One of France’s big advantages is its transportation. Travel between major cities in both France and Spain is relatively easy, with high-speed trains connecting most major cities.
“One key transportation project in Western Europe is the Ultra Rapid Train line, which is being planned by the European Commission to improve connectivity between Lisbon in Portugal and Helsinki in Finland,” said Hannah Free. “The program involves the construction of an 8,000km doubletrack high-speed railway network between Lisbon and Helsinki with a loop around the Baltic Sea. The rail line will pass through, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, and Finland.”