Remarkable growth in Europe led by Southern Mediterranean destinations

Sustained growth in Europe, the world’s most visited region, continues unabated

In the first six months of 2018, UNWTO reports 7% growth in inbound tourism in Europe, with 9% growth in Southern Mediterranean countries. On the demand side, France, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation all reported double-digit increases in outbound spending in Europe.

In 2017, arrivals to Europe overall grew 8%, equating to 52 million more travellers than in the previous year. The growth in arrivals was mirrored by receipts which also increased 8%.

Travel demand increased from virtually all Europe’s source markets, both inside and outside the region, fuelling inbound growth across Europe. The recovery of the Russian outbound market in particular, benefitted many destinations, the report said.

By subregion, Southern Mediterranean Europe led results in arrivals and receipts, driven by the recovery of Turkey and the continued strength of other traditional and emerging destinations. Italy and Spain reported an increase of six million arrivals each.

In Western Europe, growth was led by top destination France and Belgium, recovering from the security incidents in previous years. Destinations in Central and Eastern Europe also posted solid growth with a few exceptions, thanks to increased outbound demand from Russia.

All destinations in Northern Europe reported growth, including the United Kingdom, the subregion’s largest destination, despite the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester. The depreciation of the British Pound contributed to the UK’s results, making the destination more affordable.

The report highlighted that Spain climbed from third to second place in arrivals and held on to the second position in receipts to become the world’s second largest destination by both international tourist arrivals and receipts.

France was in first place in arrivals with 86.9 million visitors, the report states. France occupied third place in receipts, with a 9% increase to US$60.7 bn.