TOURIST figures for 2003 have shown the number of people visiting France fell by 2.6 per cent.
Last year saw 75 million visitors compared to 77 million the year before, according to government figures.
Secretary of State for Tourism, Leon Bertrand (pictured), claimed 2003 was a bad year for the whole of world tourism.
He said in France this was reinforced by the heat wave, cancellation of music festivals and the fires that swept the south of the country.
It was noted that foreign visitors were coming less often, spending less time in France and consequently spending less money.
However, the French themselves have enjoyed more short stay breaks, increasing by 2.3% with longer stay breaks falling by 1.9%.
Leon Bertrand promised to continue the work of the Government in promoting France and there will be further committee meetings on tourism.