European tourism demand continues to grow and proves resilient to safety and security challenges and political
turmoil. Overall growth, however, has slowed from the previous year (+5% in 2015) affected by those destinations
required to rebuild market confidence following tragic events. The most visited region in the world welcomed 620
million international tourist arrivals in 2016, a 2% increase compared to the same period in 2015 . According to the
European Travel Commission’s latest report, “European Tourism – Trends & Prospects”, the majority of destinations
reported healthy growth in the last months of 2016. Iceland remains the top growth destination (+40%) followed by
the outstanding performance of Cyprus (+20%) and Slovakia (+19%) owing to improved air connectivity and off-
season visitation. Bulgaria (+16%) also saw robust growth while other destinations such as Serbia and Portugal
(both +13%) are increasingly becoming appealing for bargain hunters. On the contrary, safety and security concerns
weigh down on visitor numbers in Turkey (-31%) and Belgium (-14%) while a strong Swiss Franc weakens
Switzerland’s tourism performance (-2%). “European destinations acknowledge the need to remain competitive in a
sector that is swiftly adapting to the diverse needs of travellers from both established and emerging markets. Only
through increased commitment and cooperation from the European tourism authorities will Europe remain a
competitive destination and will succeed in fostering inbound travel” said Eduardo Santander, Executive Director of
ETC. Europe’s Large Source Markets Continue to Drive GrowthEuropean travel remains heavily reliant on intra-
regional demand. Several destinations reported double-digit growth from Germany and France, attributable to stable
economic conditions in the Eurozone. In the UK, a weaker pound failed to deter travel demand, with almost one in
two European destinations reporting double-digit growth from this market. Visitor arrivals from Russia are gradually
improving with significant increases recorded in the Mediterranean and the Baltic destinations. Russian tourist flows
are expected to grow throughout 2017 as the rouble strengthens.