Tourism flows towards Europe keep their positive trend in spite of global uncertainty

Recently, the European Travel Commission published its quarterly report regarding the state of health of the European Travel & Tourism industry in the first months of 2017. As we have already reported, in 2016 Europe proved to be a resilient destination, in spite of the threats deriving from international terrorism which undermined tourism destinations, and the Brexit referendum.

The report underlines that 18 out of 21 analysed Countries registered a growth in terms of international arrivals and overnights. 

The unstoppable growth of Iceland is clear from the early results of this year, registering +53,7% in arrivals, even though the report highlights the limits of its accommodation capacity. On the other hand, Montenegro registered -13,7% in arrivals and -51,7% in overnights, but in the considered period tourism flows are not very relevant and this figure should not alarm.
Further destinations which recorded positive performances were Portugal (+24,9%) and Malta (+22,7%), while Turkey keeps its negative trend (-8,1%), as a result of the heavy social and economic situation in the Country.

The ETC also reports how the air travel sector is consolidating its growth trend started in 2016, as a consequence of the lower air fares and fuel price. This growth was particularly strong in the flights from the USA to Europe, as a consequence of a strong dollar, even though there is a general concern about the demand towards the USA, due to the recent policies on immigration and visa. On the other hand, it is foreseen a possible decrease of Asian tourism flows, due to terrorism concerns. This is already happening in France, where Japanese tourism arrivals registered -40% and Chinese -20%. Notwithstanding, this target shows interest towards destinations which have a similar tourism products to France and Turkey. In fact, interesting results were surprisingly recorded in Montenegro (+139,2% in Japanese overnights) and Portugal (+84,4% in arrivals and + 73,3% in overnights). Chinese tourists preferred Serbia (+104,8% in arrivals) and Finland (+98,3%).
It is expected a decrease of flights and overnights from the United Kingdom, opposite to the USA, because of the ongoing pound depreciation linked to the Brexit process.

At Twissen we observed that during the last year, in spite of the uncertainty generated by terrorism attacks and Brexit, Europe proved to be resilient and tourism flows are redistributing as in the law of connected vessels. This implies that there are opportunities to attract new tourism flows for destinations which have similar or alternative products to France, Turkey and Belgium.