Gastronomy and city life are the two main factors attracting tourist crowds to Europe, according to a recent study released by the European Travel Commission (ETC).
Titled “Tourism Passion Communities” and examining the link between European travel experiences and travelers’ interests or hobbies, the study found that Europe is the leading destination for “passion-based travel”, with 15 percent of those polled primarily interested in food experiences and 55 percent listing it as an aspect in their choice of holiday destination.
According to the findings, food lovers prefer to travel in spring and autumn, following the seasonality of most food and wine products.
Key attractions? Local food products, gastronomy events, vineyard trips and fine-dining experiences, which are key factors for Chinese and US travelers.
In the meantime, one third of vacationers choosing Europe are attracted by “living like a local” experiences with 9 percent of those surveyed listing it as the most important interest.
Exploring cultural roots and identity also plays a major role when chosing destination for 43 percent of the respondents, who prefer to travel in June and July, with a strong preference for France, Italy, Spain and the UK.
More than half of those polled said enjoying city life affected their travel choice, 13 percent said it was the most important motivation for travel, and 63 percent said that although they had visited Europe before for the city life, they would return for the same reason.
Europe wins over the crowds thanks to the variety and proximity of its iconic cities, which include France, Italy and Spain at the top of the list.
The ETC study was carried out on 3,000 travelers in four interest-related communities: gastronomy lovers, city life enthusiasts, immersive explorers and explorers of cultural roots and identity.
“The competitive analysis reveals that Europe is very well positioned to attract each of the key passion groups identified,” said ETC Executive Director Eduardo Santander. “Building on a 6 percent increase in international tourist arrivals to Europe in 2018, these insights will enable European destinations to effectively connect with these communities and successfully promote Europe based on travelers’ passions,” he added.