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A view of the magnificent Eiffel Tower/AFP

Finance

Paris, still the world’s no.1 tourist destination

A view of the magnificent Eiffel Tower/AFP

A view of the magnificent Eiffel Tower/AFP

PARIS, March 11 – Some 32.3 million tourists say France’s city of light and romance can’t be beat.

Paris was once again last year the world’s top tourist destination, the regional tourism body said on Monday, citing hotel occupancies.

Despite some tough global economic conditions, it said 2013 was a very good year for tourism in Paris and the surrounding Ile-de-France region, with foreign visitors at “the highest level in 10 years”.

The nearly 15.5 million foreign visitors to the French capital represented an 8.2 percent increase from 2012. The largest number (2.1 million) came across the Channel from Britain, followed by the Americans, Germans, Italians and Chinese.

It also marked the first time the Chinese topped the list of tourists from Asia with 881,000 flocking to Paris, surpassing the Japanese.

There was also a nearly 21-percent increase in visitors from the Middle East, according to the Ile-de-France Regional Tourism Committee.

Ironically, it was the French themselves who seemed less enthusiastic about visiting their world famous capital last year, with the number of French tourists in Parisian hotels dropping by 7.5 percent from 2012.

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