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ETC: Travel Demand for Europe Stable but Slower

Interest in traveling to European destinations is still strong despite Brexit and a slower EU economy, according to the “European Tourism – Trends & Prospects” report for Q3 2019, released by the European Travel Commission (ETC) recently.

The report reveals a slower expansion with only one third of reporting destinations beating last year’s levels and a steady regional outlook for international tourist arrivals in 2019.

The leading factor thwarting projections is a potential ‘no deal’ Brexit, which is bound to impact tourism both in terms of sentiment and potential travel disruption. According to ETC analysts, a ‘no deal’ Brexit could cause a 7 percent drop in UK outbound trips in 2020 and an 8 percent drop in 2021.

More specifically for Europe, top performers included Montenegro, which grew by 18 percent, Turkey (+15 percent), Lithuania and Slovakia (9 percent), and the Netherlands (+7 percent).


With regards to Greece, the report based its findings on data only through June 2019, which does not include the peak summer months, and according to which there was a 0.5 percent decline in the number of international arrivals.

Using this year-to-June information, Greece appears to have fared poorly, losing travelers from the Netherlands down by 20.7 percent, Germany, and Italy.

Losses were however countered by increases in visitors from France, the UK, Russia, and the US (+21 percent), thanks to a strong dollar against the euro.

Meanwhile, year-to-date air passenger growth slowed more rapidly in Europe than any other region, dropping to 5.4 percent to August from 6.9 percent (to April).


ETC’s analysts point out, however, that failing tap into and promote more sustainable and inclusive tourism approaches is by far the greatest risk for the European tourism sector.

“This latest report highlights that travel demand in Europe is in a good place, with steady increases in tourism numbers across the board. Despite very real challenges, such as the looming threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, and the collapse of several airlines, European destinations continue to post healthy rates of arrivals, which of course is to be welcomed,” said Eduardo Santander, ETC executive director during the report’s presentation.

“Meanwhile, European tourism needs to focus on developing long-term sustainable management solutions to enable tourism to flourish, rather than just merely grow,” he added.

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