In its latest quarterly report, the European Travel Commission reports that the demand for tourism in Europe is expected to maintain an upward trajectory over 2019 despite uncertain trade relationships between China and the US and a slowing Chinese travel demand.
In this respect, the ETC – in its European Tourism – Trends & Prospects 2019 – predicts a growth rate of 3.6%, which is more in line with the annual historical average from 2008-2018, but lower than that of 2018.
In global terms, Europe has outperformed all other regions, posting 7% growth in revenue per kilometre (RPK) in the first four months of the year compared to last year. This comes despite the pressure of increased demand and constrained air-traffic control capacity, which has had the impact of increasing possible delays and cancellations.
Among Europe’s key long-haul source markets, the US and China continue to stand out in terms of their contributions to European tourism growth accounting for a share of 11% and 4% respectively. Chinese travellers concentrated mainly in Southern/Mediterranean destinations: Montenegro (up 150%), Cyprus (up 62%), and Croatia (up 44%).
Another fast-growing destination in terms of Chinese arrivals was Lithuania (up 77%). Interestingly, despite a possible slowdown of the American economy, Greece (up 47%), Turkey (up 37%), and Cyprus (up 33%) saw the most significant increases in arrivals from the US early in the year.
Eduardo Santander, executive director of ETC said “It is clear to us that maintaining growth in 2019 will be much more challenging than in 2018. Europe must align its market mix, identify under-served segments and further expand its understanding of pan-European product development.”
Santander continued: “Through the promotion of transnational experiences, ETC is seeking to raise visibility for the plethora of products available and to create awareness of the regions diversity. An essential pillar to achieve the sustainable growth of European tourism are public-private partnerships following a focused approach with common and achievable goals.”
Tourism Years have become a more prominent feature of bilateral relations between countries in recent years, with significant effort being made to forge partnerships with untapped and developing markets.
Tourism Years serve a valuable purpose: they provide an impetus for connectivity growth between countries and help destinations to broaden their appeal across source markets.
As shown by the success of the EU-China Tourism Year in 2018, such partnerships can act as a catalyst for faster growth from developing and long-haul markets.
In addition to helping EU destinations gain share of Chinese long-haul demand, the EU-China Tourism Year also corresponded with some market share growth for non-EU ETC destinations over the same period.
This spill-over is a function of Europe’s compact geography and the relative proximity of many destinations, allowing long-haul travellers to maximise the value of their long-haul trip.
Go to https://etc-corporate.org/reports/european-tourism-2019-trends-prospects-q2-2019/ for the full report.