Long-haul inbound tourism in Europe gained momentum in 2017 driven by resilient markets, a shift towards leisure-related travel and stronger pre-bookings, paving the way for a strong year ahead, according to the Air Travellers’ Traffic Barometer released by European Cities Marketing and ForwardKeys.
The number of international arrivals in Europe rose by 7.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, driven by long-haul travelers – stronger by 14.1 percent – while intra-European travel showed moderate growth at 2.8 percent. Arrivals from almost all the other regions maintained growth rates above 10 percent, with Asia and Oceania being the best performing markets.
In the meantime, seven out of 10 top European destinations marked increased advanced bookings with double-digit growth, revealing a healthy outlook for long-haul arrivals in the first quarter of 2018.
According to the survey, among the most promising destinations for the first quarter of 2018 – also ranked at the top in terms of volume and growth – are Istanbul, up by 52.5 percent; Amsterdam stronger by 20.1 percent; and Paris up by 17.6 percent.
Leisure travelers had the largest absolute growth.
In relevant news, European Cities Marketing (ECM) announced a 7.7 percent rise in city tourism in 2017, with the domestic market increasing by 5.2 percent and the international market by 9.2 percent.
The cities with the highest number of international bednights were London, up by 7.9 percent, and Paris stronger by 11.1 percent.
In terms of source markets, Russia soared by 27.3 percent, China rose by 17.3 percent and the US by 15.5 percent. On the downside, Italy dropped by 3.4 percent.
The US (12 percent), Germany (8 percent), and the UK (7 percent) account for approximately 30 percent of the international source markets for European cities.