According to a European Travel Commission’s latest report, “European Tourism – Trends & Prospects 2018”, 32 out of 34 reporting southern European destinations showed growth for the summer season. In all, 1 in 4 destinations enjoyed double-digit increases in arrivals.
Overall, Europe saw a 7% increase in international tourist arrivals the first half of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, with growth led by southern Mediterranean destinations.
Turkey led all other destinations with a +23% uptick as security fears there waned. The depreciation of the lira also reportedly added to Turkey’s attractiveness to foreign travelers. Sizeable growth was also registered for Greece (+19%), Serbia (+15%), and Malta (+16%). Only Spain showed any signs of a slowdown recording a slight decline in arrivals.
Amidst escalating trade wars and volatile economic conditions, travel demand from Europe’s key long-haul source markets remains solid. In the U.S., economic expansion and a stronger dollar underpin sustained income and consumption growth. Virtually all reporting destinations posted growth from this market which is expected to increase by 8 percent in 2018.
Chinese travelers were a source of extensive arrivals growth in several Balkan destinations based on year-to-date data. The Turkey Tourism year in China supported the upsurge in visitor numbers in Turkey (+87%) while improved air connectivity drove growth in Serbia (+104%), Montenegro (+64%) and Croatia (+41%).