Foreign tourists dropped by 2.6 percent to 75 million last year from 77 million in 2002 in what was a poor year for global tourism, said junior minister for tourism, Leon Bertrand.
U.S. visitors fell 18.3 percent to 2.4 million in 2003, when the dollar fell and relations between Paris and Washington soured over France’s opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
That was a big blow because U.S. tourists spend more and stay longer on average than people from other countries, according to a report detailing the figures.
“The drop in American revenues was particularly pronounced. For more than 30 years, the United States has been the country that has been the most profitable for France in terms of tourism revenues,” it said.0