Smaller Euro cities attract Asians


SINGAPORE, 31 March 2016: Asian travellers may still love Paris and London, but the latest Travel Smart study shows bookings are growing much faster for smaller European cities.

The findings were announced Wednesday by Agoda, a leading accommodation booking website that is owned by Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group.

The study compared millions of hotel bookings made by Agoda travellers resident in Asia and booking travel to Europe in 2014 and 2015.

inside no 6Hallstatt, Austria, was the fastest growing European destination with more than twice as many bookings in 2015 as the year before, followed by Fussen, Germany and Glasgow, Scotland*.

Hallstatt, a beautiful ancient salt mine village and UNESCO world heritage site, has been a popular destination for Chinese tourists for the past few years, so much so that the Chinese built a replica of it in Guangdong in 2012.

But it’s not just Chinese tourists anymore. Visitors from all over Asia contributed to its growing popularity.

“Our travellers from Asia are broadening their reach and we are seeing faster growth rates in the types of European destinations people visit after they’ve already been to the bigger cities,” said Agoda chief operating officer John Brown.

Number two on the list, Fussen, Germany, is home to a fairytale 19th century castle, Neuschwanstein. Castles in general seem to be a popular draw for Asian tourists, as destinations five, six and seven on the list — Cesky Krumlov, Heidelberg and Salzburg — are also known for castles.

London and Paris didn’t make the top 10, but the UK and France are still well represented. Glasgow and Oxford took the third and fourth place on the list, while Avignon took the eighth spot.

*The study looked at destinations with more than 1,000 bookings in 2015.Untitled-1