EU-China Tourism Year with sustained growth

Brussels – Latest results indicate another year of sustained growth in European tourism demand. Europe continues to appeal to worldwide travelers and remains the most visited region in the world despite a variety of challenges in recent years.

According to the European Travel Commission’s latest report, ” European Tourism – Trends & Prospects “, all reporting destinations saw growth in tourist arrivals during the first months of 2018. Tourism growth is supported by the solid demand from intra-European and emerging source markets and a resilient global economy. Prospects remain positive and travel growth is expected to trend around +4% in 2018.

“It is key that tourism organisations continue strengthening collaboration under the umbrella of a common European approach and positioning. European destinations are called to provide more personalised experiences, facilitate travel from overseas markets and better address social, environmental and technological trends and challenges,” said Eduardo Santander, Executive Director of ETC.

Chinese Arrivals in Europe Remain Strong early in the Year
China continues to fuel arrivals growth across European destinations helped by its expanding middle class, increased air connectivity and easier visa procedures, altogether contributing significantly to the surge of outbound travel from this market.

More than one in two reporting destinations saw growth in Chinese arrivals based on early data for 2018. Results, however, do not yet reflect actual market demand as volumes are mainly dependent on the relatively late Chinese New Year (February 2018).

Serbia (+254%) and Montenegro (+153%) reported fastest growth, although from a lower base, partly owing to significant improvements in visa facilitation. Croatia and Poland were up 46% and 30% respectively, aided by increased promotional activities. Finland (+21%) also saw sustained growth benefitting from Finnair’s Asian strategy.

Turkey (+100%) reported a notable rebound in Chinese visitor arrivals. This recovery could be attributed to Turkey’s tourism strategy where diversification is the main theme, targeting destinations other than the traditional western nations to ensure tourism growth in the event of global or political challenges.

The 2018 EU-China Tourism Year is expected to further increase the visibility of Europe as a tourism destination in China and help sustain Europe’s inbound tourism market share. Despite a more moderate economic growth projected for 2018, Chinese tourist arrivals are expected at a significant level over the next four-year period, potentially at 7.5% a year on average.