2017 record year for European tourism, despite international challenges

Recently, the European Travel Commission (ETC) published its last Quarterly Report – Q4/2017, namely European Tourism 2017 – Trends and Prospects. The report analyses the last months of the past year, in pertaining to the Travel & Tourism industry state of health. In 2016, Europe proved to be a resilient tourism destination, maintaining a positive trend both in international and domestic arrivals, although some Countries had registered negative results due to the growing fear of terrorism threats.

But in 2017, Europe registered a record +8,4% in tourism arrivals, four times higher than in 2016, welcoming 671 million tourists throughout the year. The ETC also reports that this figure overperforms the global tourism growth, which was +7%: in this way, Europe confirmed its position as leading destination at a global level.

In particular, this growth was led by the recovery of three destinations which were previously affected by safety and security concerns: Belgium, France and Turkey, which leads the European ascent with its +28%.
Further notable figures were registered in Iceland (+24%), which maintains its positive trend as during the previous year, although the Government is still facing the overtourism phenomenon. Also, both consolidated and emerging destinations in Southern Mediterranean Europe outperformed, such as Montenegro (+19%), Serbia (+18%), Malta (+16%), Slovenia (+15%) and Cyprus (+15%), proving an inclination in beating tourism seasonality. Also Spain (+9%) proved to be a resilient destination, is spite of the recent political tensions in Catalonia, which is one of Spanish tourism leading regions.

Source: European Travel Commission, Quarterly Report – Q4/2017

Intra-regional key source markets were France, Germany and the UK. German tourists last year preferred other destinations instead of Turkey (-8%), such as Serbia and Montenegro, and they are expected to keep on travelling thanks to low unemployment and wage gains. In France, a recover in inbound tourism turned into more French tourists travelling, while Britons did not give up on travelling in spite of the weak sterling. Moreover, Russia represented the most important source market. Almost in every European Country, the number of Russian tourists rose up, and Europe last year welcomed about 25 million units; in Turkey they performed a record 465% growth rate.
Further important origin markets were the USA (about 30 million tourists in 2017, +12%) and China (about 12 million tourists, +16%), as air connections between the Country and Europe are being improved.
The ETC also reports positive expectations for 2018, and it is foreseen a further growth of about 3 or 4%.

At Twissen we observed that global travelers are still relying their trust in Europe as a tourism destinations, in spite of security concerns, political uncertainty and further social factors. Cooperation among destinations can guarantee resilience also in the most challenging periods.