WHY IT RATES: When clients ask about European travel options, travel agents can tell them tourism is booming.—Donald Wood, Breaking News Senior Writer.
According to the latest European Travel Commission’s “European Tourism 2017–Trends & Prospects” report, regional expansion was supported by the economic growth in major source markets and the recovery of destinations previously affected by security concerns.
Almost all monitored destinations saw increases in tourist arrivals with more than a half growing in excess of 10 percent.
“The upturn in the global economy paves the way to reorient European and national policy to support the drivers of tourism growth, promote long-term sustainable development and be a more effective catalyst for job creation in Europe,” said Eduardo Santander, Executive Director of ETC.
Turkey, with a 28 percent increase, experienced an impressive increase in visitor arrivals, with growth largely driven by Russian outbound flows, which saw a 465.2 percent increase. Iceland, with a 24 percent increase and the fastest growing destination since 2012, showed robust results while its government considers measures to address overtourism.
Destinations in Southern/Mediterranean Europe such as Montenegro saw a 19 percent increase, Serbia, an 18 percent increase, and Malta, 16 percent increase. Slovenia and Cyprus, both 15 percent increase, also boosted growth and proved their success in overcoming seasonality.
Finland, with a 14 percent increase, enjoyed a solid increase fuelled by Chinese and Indian arrivals. Established summer destinations Croatia, with a14 percent increase, Portugal, with a 12 percent increase and Spain, with a nine percent increase, also saw healthy growth. Political tensions in Catalonia does not seem to have weighed down tourism demand in Spain, while improved air connectivity continues to underpin Portugal’s strong performance.
Strengthening Economic Conditions in Key Source Markets Boost European Tourism Demand
Growth in the UK largely continued despite a weakened Pound with several destinations posting double-digit increases. France and Germany continued to be a source of notable arrivals growth for several European destinations aided by encouraging economic conditions that support private consumption.
Russian outbound travel has picked up following years of declines. All but one reporting destinations enjoyed a strong rebound in arrivals from this market. Despite recent softening, a stronger U.S. dollar and competitive air fares contributed to growth in tourist arrivals from the U.S., up 12 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. In China, improved air connectivity and its expanding middle class continue to drive travel demand. In 2017, Europe saw a remarkable 16 percent increase from China, compared to the flat growth in 2016.
SOURCE: European Travel Commission press release.
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