A new data from ForwardKeys, which analyzes over 14 million airline booking transactions a day, shows that long haul travel to Europe during the 2016 summer season decreases by 0.9% compared to last year. Growth in late June and early July, fueled by the UEFA Cup and Ramadan ending two weeks earlier than last year, was offset by a consequent decline in late July and early August.
Looking ahead, the prospects of a revival are not encouraging, with bookings for the coming month currently trailing where they were at the equivalent time last year by 1.4%
The poor summer of 2016 ends a period of strong growth which has seen inbound travel growing by around 6.2% per annum for the past five years. Olivier Jager, ForwardKeys Co-founder and CEO said: “High-profile events such as UEFA’s European Cup and World Youth Day in Poland could not offset the damage caused by security concerns. A spate of bombings in Turkey and terrorist incidents in France have evidently deterred tourists from visiting major European countries; however, there has been a surge of interest in second tier destinations.”
Looking specifically at the June 1st to August 31st period, major destinations such as the UK (-1.3%), Italy (-2.6%), Germany (-4.1%) and in particular France (-9.6%) and Turkey (-26.7%), dropped being affected by security concerns. Second-tier destinations offset the decline, showing strong growth, especially Spain (+10.0%), Portugal (+5.2%), Scandinavian countries (+6.1%), Ireland (+18.1%), Russia (+19.0%) and Poland (+26.1%).
Olivier commented: “Much of the growth was due to holidaymakers switching away from mainstream destinations and the Pope’s visit to Poland but we also saw a major influx of Chinese visitors to Russia.”
When one looks at the origin markets, both North and South America grew, by 2.5% and 4.6% respectively but travel from the rest of the world fell – by 2.8% from Africa, by 2.4% from Asia Pacific and by 1.0% from the Middle East.
The national markets showing the greatest decline were China, down 3.7%; South Africa, down 7.7%; the UAE, down 13.0%; Brazil down 14.7% and Japan down 18.0%. Brazil’s decline was due to its struggling domestic economy but concern about security was the principal factor deterring visitors from the Asian and Middle Eastern countries.
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