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BRUSSELS — Travel demand for Europe saw a slight increase in the first half of 2019, says the European Travel Commission (ETC), but at a slower rate than in previous years due to the economy and Brexit concerns.
According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and as reported in ETC’s latest quarterly report, ‘European Tourism – Trends & Prospects 2019’, international tourist arrivals to Europe were 4% higher during the first six months of the year compared to 2018.
Slovakia proved to be a popular destination, particularly among Canadians who contributed increases in arrivals (45%) and overnights (77%) based on data in June. This, says ETC, is most likely connected to Bratislava and Kosice hosting the Ice Hockey World Championship in May.
Strong expansion in tourist arrivals from Canada was also observed in Lithuania (+39%) and in Southern/Mediterranean destinations like Turkey (+31%), Slovenia (+21%) and Cyprus (+19%). Italy also performed well with a 19% increase in arrivals despite a decrease in overnights (-8%).
On the other hand, nine destinations saw no increase in arrivals or overnights from Canada, with Iceland (-25%) and Latvia (-16%) experiencing steep declines.
Looking ahead, annual average growth of travel from Canada to Europe is expected to hover around 3% over the five-year period between 2018-2023.
On the growth ETC is seeing out of Canada, Dana Welch, Chair of ETC’s Canada Chapter, said: “It’s great to see the overall steady increase in travel from Canada to Europe. With the planned expansion in direct flights announced for summer 2020 from Canada, along with the launch of the new ETC campaign, we look forward to continued growth.”
Earlier this month, ETC hosted travel agents and industry partners in Toronto to launch its Horizon 2022 Strategy, which aims to promote all of Europe under one joint message. Three key niche markets have been identified under the Strategy, including Immersive Explorers, Urban & City Life Explorers, and Explorers of Historical Roots.