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Good prospects for tourism in Europe

In 2013 international arrivals to Europe grew by 5.4 per cent, which marks a continuation of the positive growth trend of the past four years. Germany confirmed as number one source market for European destinations – Study by the ETC and shared with ITB Berlin provides information on the most important source markets for tourism to Europe.

BERLIN – In 2013 international arrivals to Europe grew by 5.4 per cent, which marks a continuation of the positive growth trend of the past four years. The majority of travellers came from Germany and the UK. These are the results of a study conducted by the European Travel Commission (ETC) and shared with ITB Berlin. The study examined the market impact of foreign tourists in Europe from various European and non-European source markets.

Nearly 50 per cent of all international arrivals in Europe came from only eight countries in 2013. As in previous years Germany was the largest source market, contributing to 14 per cent of all international arrivals in Europe, ahead of the UK (nine per cent). With a market share of six per cent, Russia is the third largest source of international arrivals. In view of the current political situation however, it remains to be seen whether it will retain that position in 2014. France occupied fourth spot, ahead of the Netherlands and of sixth-placed Italy. Bearing in mind its comparatively small population, the Dutch contribution to the market for international arrivals is remarkable. The seventh position sees the first extra-European market, the USA, whose share of international arrivals grew substantially in 2013.

Within the individual source markets there are marked differences in growth. Russia, up by 13% in 2013 compared to the previous year, is a much more dynamic market than other intra-regional markets. The UK and German markets generate large volumes of international arrivals, but reported a comparatively modest growth. These markets are forecast to remain big players until 2016. Last year arrivals from Germany, the largest source market, rose by only 1.5 per cent. In the medium and long term the Chinese market is also expected to expand. In 2013 China’s share of international arrivals in Europe was only 1.3 per cent. However, its market grew by 23 per cent.

The study forecasts that from 2013 to 2016 international arrivals to Europe will grow by some 3.8 per cent. Besides Germany and the UK, the USA is also likely to play an important role. Around 27 per cent of all foreign visitors are forecast to come from these three countries.

The study also revealed noticeable differences between northern and southern Europe. Whereas western European countries are visited mainly by tourists from the same source markets, northern Europe countries can expect to receive more travellers from the USA. Over the next few years the majority of visitors to southern Europe are forecast to come from the UK, Germany and France.

According to Dr. Martin Buck, director of Travel & Logistics at Messe Berlin: “Europe’s success as a travel destination is set to continue. It is an attractive destination that fascinates Europeans and overseas visitors alike. However, Russia’s role on the European market for international arrivals will depend on future political developments.”

Mr Peter De Wilde, President of the European Travel Commission, added: “Championing tourism growth from overseas markets requires a co-ordinated branding programme that truly reflects Europe’s core values and strengths.”