Script: Tourists, tourist everywhere

Script: Tourists, tourist everywhere

For many countries and cities, tourism is big business. The facts are simple: tourists visit a place and they spend. They get off the coach or the plane, go to their hotel and then emerge and boost the economy of the place they are visiting. Out come the wallets and money flows into services and businesses. Whether locals like them or loathe them, tourists bring dollars with them and no country or city can afford to discourage them or turn them away.

Voice 1: So where are the top tourist destinations? A recent study by the United Nations Tourism Organisation has thrown up some interesting statistics. Figures suggest that France receives more tourists than any other country, whilst the most visited individual city is the capital of Thailand, Bangkok.

Voice 2: Last year, more than 83 million people visited France, and they came from countries all over the globe – distance doesn't stop people. The lure of famous ski resorts, and beautiful seaside towns on the Mediterranean coast have ensured that France has had the top spot on the list of countries visited by tourists since the UN first began publishing tourism statistics.

Voice 1: Annually, France receives 16 million more visitors than the United States in second place, with China, Spain and Italy completing the top five most visited countries. It is interesting to know that the figure of 83 million tourists who visited France last year is higher than the actual population of the country which stands at 66 million.

Voice 2: But despite being the top holiday destination, France has a problem persuading tourists to part with their cash. Tourism contributes seven per cent towards the country's economy, but the average amount each visitor spends is far less than what they spend in other countries.

Voice 1: Visitors spend on average 14,000 HKD in America, 10,000 HKD in Germany and 9,700 HKD in Great Britain per trip. Visitors to Macau spend a staggering 25, 000 HKD each. Now there is food for thought - and massive profits for someone!

Voice 2: More than eighty per cent of visitors to France come from neighbouring countries in Europe and this may explain the relatively low amount of spending. A lot of tourists in France choose to camp in the country's excellent and cheap campsites and buy food from supermarkets rather than spending on hotel rooms and restaurant meals.

Voice 1: In contrast, forty-five per cent of visitors to America are long-haul travellers.This demographic contributes seventy-eight per cent of the total tourist income in the US.

Voice 2: When it comes to the most-visited city in the world, Bangkok attracts almost sixteen million visitors a year, narrowly ahead of London. A few years ago it was the other way around with London in the number one spot, but Bangkok's visitor numbers have been recently rising largely thanks to the growing number of mainland tourists with the money to travel.

Voice 1: No one can predict where the next travel hotspot will be, but it will have to be somewhere very special to beat France and Bangkok. But one enterprising travel company based in Europe is already taking bookings for holidays on the moon. Are France and Bangkok's days up at the top numbered? Only time will tell.


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