France as portal or destination?

Don Boudreaux over at Cafe Hayek notes some interesting numbers from The Economist magazine:

- In 2001, the country with the largest number of tourist arrivals was France, with 76,503,000. A distant second was Spain, with 49,532,000. The United States was third, with 45,495,000. Assuming 2001 to be a typical year, these facts mean that France currently welcomes 60 percent more tourists each year than does the U.S.


- Also in 2001, the U.S. was far ahead of any other country in tourist receipts. U.S. tourist receipts in that year were $68.4 billion. France was a distant second, earning only $29.3 billion ? a mere 43 percent of U.S. tourist receipts.


These facts mean that each tourist entering France spent an average of $383, while each tourist entering the U.S. spent an average of $1,503.

France gets a lot more tourists, but the tourists don't spend much money there. Perhaps it may be that, for the US and UK, France is the first stop on a continental trip, but France is not necessarily the destination. Hence, lots of feet, not so much spending.

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This may well be true. A lot

This may well be true. A lot of English people take day trips to France to get cheap wine, cigarettes and do some shopping at the local hypermarket. In effect, the English are just avoiding taxes at home - and there are quite a few.