Europe posts 8% growth in tourist arrivals

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Europe welcomed 671 million international tourists in 2017, an 8 per cent growth compared to 2016 (2 per cent), said European Travel Commission (ETC) in its report “European Tourism 2017-Trends & Prospects”. The 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 per cent.

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“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.

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Turkey (28 per cent) experienced an impressive rebound in visitor arrivals with growth largely driven by Russian outbound flows (465.2 per cent). Iceland (24 per cent), the fastest growing destination since 2012, showed robust results while its government considers measures to address “over tourism”.

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Destinations in Southern/Mediterranean Europe Montenegro (19 per cent), Serbia (18 per cent) Malta (16 per cent), Slovenia and Cyprus (both 15 per cent) also boosted growth and have proved their success in overcoming seasonality. Finland (14 per cent) enjoyed a solid increase fuelled by Chinese and Indian arrivals. Established summer destinations Croatia (14 per cent), Portugal (12 per cent) and Spain (9 per cent) also saw healthy growth. In Spain political tensions in Catalonia seem not have weighed down tourism demand while improved air connectivity continues to underpin Portugal’s strong performance.

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Growth from 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.

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Photo Courtesy: heynadine

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 some recent softening, a stronger US dollar and competitive air fares contributed to growth in tourist arrivals from the US, up 12 per cent 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 per cent increase from China, compared to the flat growth in 2016.