On Day 12, Karim Mekachera, Director of Atout France for the Middle East and Turkey visited our campus to deliver a talk on tourism. Atout France is a government operator in charge of promoting tourism in France and maintaining France’s leading position in the world tourism market. Karim is responsible for the Dubai office operations and for promoting France as a premier tourist destination across the Middle East region and Turkey.
Below are some interesting facts about the tourism industry:
- Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world.
- France is the Number 1 tourist destination in the world in terms of number of visitors and Number 3 in terms of income.
- Tourism is the Number 1 economic sector in France.
- Paris is the third most visited city in the world. Visitors come to Paris for its rich historical and cultural sites such as the Chateau of Versailles, the Chateau of Fontainebleau and the Louvre.
- The Louvre is the world’s largest museum and houses one of the most impressive art collections in history – including the world famous Mona Lisa of Leonardo da Vinci.
- It is one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions with the Eiffel tower and the most visited museum in the world – with an average of 15,000 visitors per day!
- Paris also offers one of the best shopping experiences in the world.
- Despite the wealth of historical and cultural sites as well as stunning seaside, ski resorts and countryside, most visitors tend not to venture much out of Paris. This is mainly due to a lack of tourism infrastructure, we were told.
- One aspect of tourism that is often overlooked is rural tourism- a variant of ecotourism – said Karim. Rural tourism focuses on actively participating in a rural lifestyle and is an increasing sources of income for rural areas. The industry segment has been rapidly growing in the past decade, leading to rural tourism becoming not just a good business prospect, but a genuine vacation trend.
Amira, Euan, Dana, Mozoun & Saif