In its latest quarterly report — European Tourism –Trends & Prospects” — for Q3 2019, the European Travel Commission’s (ETC) reports demand for Europe remains in positive territory, albeit with a slower expansion rate compared to the last two years.
That report notes as well that although external risks are failing to dissipate, destinations continue to grow at a modest pace and the overarching regional outlook remains positive (3% to 4% in international tourist arrivals in 2019).
Of particular interest in Q3 is that Montenegro maintained growth momentum at 18% as it welcomed a soaring influx of Western European holidaymakers, while the depreciation of the lira continued to play a vital role in Turkey’s tourism performance with an equally impressive 15% increase in tourist arrivals. On the contrary, in Iceland (-14%), the strong krona and the collapse of Wow Air are among the key factors which have contributed to declining arrival numbers as the destination is expected to record a downturn in 2019 for the first time since 2010. Industry experts are now hoping to return to normal growth levels (4-5% annually) and that this slowdown will allow for a more sustainable and inclusive tourism sector in Iceland.
According to ETC, while things appear stable in the European tourism sector amid external challenges, uncertainties and the poor shape of the global economy, the greatest risk lies in not seizing the opportunities at hand by encouraging more sustainable and inclusive tourism approaches.
Speaking following the release of the report, Eduardo Santander, ETC executive director said: “This latest report highlights that travel demand in Europe is in a good place, with steady increases in tourism numbers across the board. Despite very real challenges, such as the looming threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, and the collapse of several airlines, European destinations continue to post healthy rates of arrivals, which of course is to be welcomed.
Santander said that: “Meanwhile, European tourism needs to focus on developing long-term sustainable management solutions to enable tourism to flourish, rather than just merely grow.”