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Despite a drop in tourism, La Belle France still reigns supreme with visitors.

February 10, 2017

More than 82.5 million tourists visited France last year, helping it keep the title of the most popular destination in the world, according to The Local.

This morning the French government released early tourism numbers for 2016, which were down from the record 85 million visitors it received the year before. The setbacks owe largely to a series of high profile terrorist attacks that occurred in Paris, Nice, and Rouen over the past two years. More detailed tourism figures will be disclosed next month.

"France has suffered as a destination," foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said at a press conference in Biarritz.

According to Ayrault, the biggest decrease in tourism was a result of fewer visitors from Asia, particularly from Japan.

Last week a 29-year old Egyptian man carrying a machete was shot after he attacked soldiers outside of the Louvre, the world’s most-visited museum. And on Thursday, government officials in Paris announced plans to construct a bulletproof glass wall around the Eiffel Tower out of fear that its most popular attraction is a target for potential terrorism.

In September, the French government announced that it would spend 10 million euros on an advertising campaign in an effort to circumvent the tourism slowdown and also set a goal of attracting 100 million tourists by 2020.

The United States is the second most popular tourism destination globally. In 2015, the U.S. received 77.5 million international visitors, but annual data for 2016 has not yet been released.

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