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London - Paris - Istanbul; Top 3 European Destinations for long haul travelers

Bosphorus view from Ciragan Palace
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According to the latest statistics, long-haul arrivals increased by 5.6% in Q3 2018, compared to Q3 2017 in Europe.

However, intra-European travel showed very poor performance with a decrease of 7.8%. This resulted in a small decrease (-1.6%) in total international arrivals in Europe during Q3.

London (18% share) and Paris (14% share) maintained their predominance as the top two destinations for long-haul travelers. Istanbul was the top growing destination in terms of share (8% share), increasing by 2 percentage points from last quarter.

These are the latest results from the Air Travellers' Traffic Barometer*, produced by European Cities Marketing and ForwardKeys.

A new element of the report, intra-regional air capacity, grew by 7.1% in Q3 and will sustain solid growth in Q4, +9.7%, as per scheduled international flights within Europe. Among best-connected destinations, Moscow and Amsterdam will enjoy solid increases of regional air capacity.

While long-haul travel increased in Q3, intra-European travel showed very poor performance with a decrease of 7.8%. This resulted in a small decrease (-1.6%) in total international arrivals in Europe during Q3.

Forward bookings for the fourth quarter are more optimistic than Q3 2018

Forward bookings for long-haul arrivals in Q4 are ahead by 8.5%, fuelled by the optimistic bookings' situation for North America (13.6% ahead) and Middle East (13.2% ahead), while smaller origin regions Africa (-0.9%) and Central & South America have a flat-negative outlook.

London (17% share) and Paris (14% share) are still the preferred destinations for the last quarter of the year, followed by Rome (9% share), representing together more than a third of arrivals in Europe. Istanbul (+51.5%) gains back its predominantly position in terms of growth, followed by Munich (19.8%) and Dubrovnik (+18.6%).

Stronger growth in the leisure travelers' segment than in the business travelers' segment

The traveler profile for long-haul arrivals maintained a growing leisure-related behavior. This was indicated as segments typically associated with leisure travel grew the most: 3 to 5 pax, couples, and groups of 6 or more, with medium lengths of stays (4 to 13 nights), and longer lead times of 90 to more than 120 days.

All ECM members have exclusive access to the complete European Cities Marketing-ForwardKeys Air Travellers' Traffic Barometer with all the graphs and analysis.

*This analyses is based on Air Reservation Data propriety of ForwardKeys® as of 30th September 2018. Perimeter: Includes air reservations made by passengers arriving in Europe and staying at least one night in the destination, therefore excluding: "Transits", "Day trips", "One-way trips" and "Returns".

Arrival period: 1 July - 30 September 2018 vs. 1 July - 30 September 2017.

Booking situation for next quarter: 1 October - 31 December 2018 vs. 1 October - 31 December 2017 according to bookings issued as of 30 September 2018 and as of 30 September 2017.