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Tourism in Europe Keeps Growing Despite Global Risks

News In 2019, Europe kept its position of the most visited region in the world, increasing the number of international tourist arrivals by 4%. This is a healthy increase compared to 2018 as it is mentioned in the latest issue of the quarterly report by the European Travel Commission (ETC). The previous year’s results are somewhat lower than the region’s performance in 2018, but this is definitely a good result in the face of global risks and economic uncertainty.

Certain European destinations performed exceptionally well and reached double-digit increases in 2019. For example, hotels in Podgorica and other cities in Montenegro enjoyed a great year and ended it with an increase in arrivals on 21%. Improved infrastructure and better connectivity were among the main reasons for success. In Turkey, Istanbul hotels, as well as resort destinations, performed well too, helping the country to post an increase of 14%. Various advertising campaigns, promotions, and investments into tourism helped Turkey to reach such a great result. Lithuania is the third European country with a double-digit increase (+10%) in the number of international tourists.

Such countries as the Netherlands, Portugal, and Serbia reached higher than average results. In Serbia, relaxed visa regulations and improved business relations helped the country to attract more foreign guests and end the year with a positive result of +7%. Portugal posted the same growth in the number of international tourist arrivals. The country won as the most “Accessible Tourist Destination 2019”, and this is not just an award. Portugal takes real steps into making it affordable for a big number of tourists from different parts of the world.

Naturally, some European destinations ended the year with negative results. For example, the number of arrivals in Iceland decreased by 14% in 2019. With the closure of WOW Air, Icelandic low-cost carrier, and a strong Krona, it became more expensive to travel to Iceland. In Romania, a lack of infrastructure and promotion caused a decline of 4%.

Travelers from the US remain the biggest long-haul source market for Europe. Record low unemployment rates and growing salaries are positive factors that encourage tourists from the States to travel more. Turkey, Cyprus, and Montenegro had the highest increase in the number of US guests in 2019 (+30%, +27%, and +26% respectively). China, another crucially important source market, showed strong results in 2019. Unfortunately, Chinese arrivals are likely to be lower in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. ETC forecasts the decrease to be between 7% and 25%.


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