BRUSSELS, 12 July 2017: Europe continues to lure millions of international travellers confirming the tourism sector’s resilience to geopolitical uncertainty and perceptions of safety and security.
According to the latest European Travel Commission’s “European Tourism 2017-Trends & Prospects”, 28 out of 30 reporting destinations recorded growth so far in 2017.
Almost one in two posted double-digit increases led by Iceland (+56%) the fastest growing destination.
Other strong growth destinations: Montenegro (+25%); Malta (+23%); Cyprus (+18%); Finland (+18%) and Bulgaria (+17%). The surge in Chinese arrivals boosted tourism growth in Finland. Portugal, Serbia and Croatia (all +15%) fared well, helped by strong marketing efforts and improved air connectivity.
Turkey (-8%), however, continues to face security challenges that slow the rate of expansion in the country.
Improved economic conditions in the Eurozone seem to be behind the growth in arrivals from Germany, France and Italy. Most European destinations saw notable increases from the UK. Croatia and Bulgaria enjoyed the fastest growth, +40% and +26% respectively from the UK market.
All reporting destinations rebounded from previous falls in Russian travel demand. Although figures do not fully offset the falls registered in previous years, prospects remain optimistic as the Russian economy continues to improve.
In the US outbound market, economic growth and favourable fares contributed to a strong performance, which is expected to increase 6% per year on average through 2021.
Travel flows from China and Japan to Europe were weaker than overall outbound travel from these markets due to safety and security concerns across the continent. However, both markets are estimated to have increased +14% and +5% respectively so far in 2017.
“Despite a stable European domestic market, growth is also driven by long-haul source markets. Cheap oil prices, favourable currency exchanges, raising middle classes, improved air connectivity and travel facilitation, are contributing significantly to the surge of outbound travel to Europe,” said European Travel Commission (ETC) executive director Eduardo Santander.
 615 million international tourist arrivals in 2016-UNWTO