BRUSSELS — International tourist arrivals to Europe remain on an upward trend, with 8% growth in the first eight months of the year compared to the same period in 2016.
According to the latest European Travel Commission’s ‘European Tourism 2017-Trends & Prospects’, most destinations (32 out of 34) saw increases in tourist arrivals, with over half enjoying double-digit growth despite lingering security concerns and geopolitical tensions.
At +30% growth, Iceland leads the pack of popular destinations. Destinations previously affected by safety challenges appear to be recovering, including Turkey (+26%) and Belgium (+12%). Other top performers include Slovenia, Serbia (both +19%), Malta (+17%), and Cyprus (+15%). Spain also showed its resilience following August terror attacks in Barcelona with a 10% increase in visitor arrivals.
More than three in four destinations reported some form of growth from the U.K. year-to-date. As well, Russian travel flows to Europe are recovering after years of decline, while arrivals from China grew at an estimated 17% in 2017.
Despite some recent weakening, a stronger U.S. dollar continues to fuel transatlantic trips with year-to-date estimates pointing at a 14% increase in arrivals.