European tourism gets off to great start despite uncertainty

European tourism gets off to great start despite uncertainty

LONDON — Tourism performance in Europe continues on a positive footing in 2016 following the 5% increase in international tourist arrivals registered last year. However, safety and security concerns and developments in travel facilitation call for closer monitoring to assess the impact on tourism in the mid-term.

According to the latest European Travel Commission (ETC) “European Tourism 2016 – Trends & Prospects”, a vast majority of destinations reported positive results in the first two months of the year in both overnights and arrivals. Top performers were Slovakia (+30%), Serbia (+24%) and Romania (+20%) recording double-digit growth. Among large destinations, substantial growth was posted by Spain (+13%), reflecting their efforts to fight seasonality, trailed by Austria and Germany (both +5%). Conversely, Turkey (-8%) saw a shrinking growth from its key source markets attributable to political and safety and security challenges.

“Tourism is one of Europe’s most important industries and it constitutes a powerful tool to foster economic development and employment growth. Amidst increased competition and unpredictable events, European leaders within the sector are called to jointly co-operate to enhance the visibility of Europe and safeguard its image as an appealing and welcoming tourist destination” said Eduardo Santander, Executive Director of ETC.

Travel demand from long-haul markets remains paramount for tourism growth. Positive economic indicators continue to support growth from the US, accounting for 5% of the share of tourist arrivals to Europe.

The “European Tourism – Trends & Prospects” is available for free download on http://www.etc-corporate.org/reports/european-tourism-2016-trends-and-prospects-(q1-2016)