“European Tourism Insights 2005 & Outlook for 2006”, the European Travel Commission`s (ETC`s) second annual report on the state of the travel and tourism industry, shows that Europe enjoyed another record tourism year in 2005, with arrivals up more than 4% over 2004.
The result is especially impressive given that Europe suffered more than its share of disasters in 2005 – from terrorist attacks to floods, droughts and forest fires. Moreover, the economic and political environment was not overly conducive to travel and tourism growth in all countries.
Some 18 million additional arrivals were generated by the growth – 43% of the world increase in 2005 – reflecting Europe`s continued dominance as a world tourism region, as well as its importance as a source market.
The big winner in terms of arrivals growth was Turkey (+21%), but a number of other destinations also recorded strong double-digit increases, including Latvia, Lithuania, Monaco and Greece. Greece`s 11% rise was especially welcome as it followed a disappointing 2004 when its capital Athens hosted the Summer Olympic Games.
In terms of overnight volume, Latvia led the growth by a very wide margin (+34%) ahead of Lithuania (+15.5%), Monaco (+14%) and Bulgaria (+13%). Nevertheless, a number of countries still do not have final figures.
Although France and Italy registered disappointing results for the second consecutive year, there has been no change in the top five European rankings of arrivals and receipts, said Rob Franklin, ETC Executive Director. France still leads in terms of arrivals, ahead of Spain, Italy, the UK and Germany, but it takes second place to Spain in the international receipts` ranking.
Despite fairly widespread concerns over bird flu and the prospects of renewed terrorist attacks and natural disasters – incidents of which have already had impacts on travel demand this year – prospects for 2006 remain bullish. In line with forecasts from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), ETC is projecting overall growth for the region of 2-3%.
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