With YTD data up to September, European tourism is doing well in 2014.
According to the European Travel Commission’s latest report “European Tourism – Trends & Prospects”, European tourism has grown strongly throughout 2014, with data up to August pointing to a 4% increase in foreign visits.
Spain continues to assert its dominance as a top European destination, with arrivals and overnights growth of 9.2% and 12% respectively according to data to September. In the Q1 report, Spain was again the top performer and the second top performer in Q2’s report in terms of overnights growth, highlighting the diversity that exists within Spain as a holiday destination suitable year-round.
Turkey has impressed with 6.9% arrivals growth based on data to August. In particular, it has enjoyed a large knock-on benefit from the Russia-Ukraine crisis with arrivals from Russia growing by 12.9%.
Germany, Europe’s fifth most visited destination, has continued its strong track record with current performance at 5%. Greece, number 10, has grown by a stunning 16%, partly thanks to the recovery of business travel. Foreign visits to smaller destinations have also grown healthily this year so far. This trend is confirmed by air passenger traffic data, with year-to-date growth exceeding 5%, despite strikes by Europe’s two largest carriers.
As predicted, arrivals to Iceland have begun to show signs of slowing. Summer demand growth remains robust, but at a slower rate than at the start of the year when sales in the traditional off season were being promoted. Yet its strong start to the year has kept it as the strongest grower with 23.1% growth in arrivals based on data to September. In achieving such growth, Iceland have highlighted the importance of destination diversity; by making conscious efforts to drive offseason tourism Iceland has been able to build on a strong start to the year rather than make up for a weak one.
Serbia recorded arrivals and overnight visits growth of 12.9% and 9.3% respectively in the year to June, largely supported by 17.9% growth in arrivals and 30.8% growth in overnights from Russia alone. As well as this, it has likely enjoyed some displacement travel otherwise destined for Croatia only for its new status as a member of the EU.
By contrast, Slovakia continues to falter with both arrivals and overnight visits based on data to June, falling by 13.8% and 11.2% respectively. As a landlocked country, it is perhaps less likely than some other European destination to see any notable pickup in arrivals or overnights over the summer months. However, with July and August still to come as well as the winter months in which the city break thrives, full year growth may yet be seen.