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TORONTO — European tourism remains in top form, says the Canada Operations Group of the European Travel Commission (ETC), which met in Toronto recently to review last year’s performance and discuss 2018 campaign initiatives.
According to the latest data from UNWTO, Europe welcomed 51 million more international tourist arrivals in 2017 than 2016, totalling 671 million compared to 620 million. With these numbers, Europe retains its rank as the world’s most visited region.
“2017 was a very strong year for Destination Europe. European tourism recorded a remarkable 8% year-over-year increase in international arrivals, more than any other region,” said Miguel Gallego, ETC Head of Marketing and Communications.
Tourist arrivals from Canada were particularly strong, with a 5.6% increase compared to the year before. With 5.3 million travellers, Europe accounts for a market share of approximately 15% of all Canadian outbound travel. Canada ranks third among all out-of-region outbound travel markets to European destinations.
The strong momentum is expected to continue in 2018 as Europe celebrates the Year of Cultural Heritage. Said Gallego, “Europe is the place for culture. This year the region will see a series of initiatives and cultural events across multiple destinations to enable visitors and citizens to discover and engage with Europe’s diverse cultural heritage and traditions.”
The Canada chapter of the European Travel Commission is chaired by Dana Welch, Manager for Canada at Tourism Ireland, with Antje Splettstoesser, Director of the German National Tourist Office, as the Vice-Chair.
“European culture and way of life has huge appeal for Canadians. We are working with our local partners to invite Canadian travellers to explore more of Europe and in more ways than ever before this year on the occasion of the Year of Cultural Heritage,” said Welch.
The Group also discussed the implementation of its new long-term marketing strategy, ‘Horizon 2022’. The new strategy, which aims to secure regional dispersion and sustainable growth, focuses on global thematic promotional campaigns to connect people’s passions with destinations in Europe.