Despite safety and security concerns, tourism performance in Europe continues on a positive footing in 2016. According to the latest European Travel Commission (ETC) "European Tourism 2016 - Trends & Prospects", a vast majority of destinations reported positive results in the first two months of the year in both overnights and arrivals.
Slovakia (+30%), Serbia (+24%), Romania (+20%), and Spain (+13%) are the top performers in Europe with double-digit growth. Meanwhile, Austria and Germany both report +5% growth.
In line with the past year’s trend, Turkey (-8.5%) saw arrivals from its key source markets dampen largely due to on-going political and safety challenges. Both arrivals and nights to Switzerland have fallen by 3.1% and 6.8% respectively in the first two months of the year compared to the same period in 2015.
The terrorist atrocities committed in Belgium in March are expected to affect growth in its tourism sectors, but currently there are no data available to quantify this impact. Overall, however, the impact of the attacks is likely to be short-lived.
European airline passenger load factor rose to 82.6% so far in 2016, although this is a lower peak than that posted in previous years. On the other hand, European airline capacity growth stabilised by mid-Q1 to its average of 6.5%.
The European Commission’s Eurobarometer survey3 revealed that 50% of survey respondents intend to go on holidays without changing their plans. The proportion of those that see their travel plans influenced by the economic situation are more inclined to adjust their travel plans accordingly: 10% will not go on holidays at all, 33% will take a short trip (up to three consecutive nights), and 17% will spend less.
The US outbound market accounts for 5% of the share of international tourist arrivals to Europe (25.7 million in 2015) and is expected to increase to 6.2% on average towards 2020.