True romance: record tourist numbers head to Paris

The City of Light is attracting visitors in record numbers this year, Paris officials said on Wednesday, as tourism remains buoyant despite the concerns over a possible return to recession.

The number of tourists rose 3.5 per cent in the first half of the year to a record 7.6 million, according to Paris tourism office director Paul Roll.

The hotel occupancy rate rose to 78.3 per cent to its best reading in a decade, with the average cost of rooms rising 7.8 per cent to 158.40 euros ($A218.70).

Revenue per room, a key indicator of the profitability of the sector, rose 11.6 per cent to 127.60 euros.

For 2011 the increase in number of tourists should come in at around three per cent, Roth forecast, a figure that is "better than good".

Despite the weak dollar, the number of American tourists increased by 4 per cent in the first half of the year to 600,000.

Arrivals from Latin America, Middle East and eastern Europe showed strong gains.

The difficult economic situation in the European Union has hit numbers from France's neighbours. Visitors from Germany dropped 5.9 per cent, Spain 5.8 per cent and Britain 3 per cent.

France is the top tourism destination in the world. The sector accounts directly for four per cent of the French economy and nine percent indirectly according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.