European Tourism 2019: European Travel Commission comforts positive global growth

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Published on 18/02/20 - Updated on 17/03/22


The latest quarterly “European Tourism Trends and Prospects” report shows positive growth of the tourism sector in Europe, in accordance with Hospitality ON yearly revue of Hotel performances in 2019.

As the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) previously revealed, a global growth of tourist arrivals of +4% was registered in Europe in 2019. The growth is mainly due to a strong intra-regional demand, which represents 70% of arrivals growth in 2019. The long-haul source markets are still of importance, especially the United States with 10% of arrival growth, partly due to a strong dollar and a weaker euro, but also China whose travellers’ interest for Europe is increasing year after year despite economic slowdown.

The strongest growth of arrivals with a double-digit increase was in Montenegro (+21%), Turkey (+14%) and Lithuania (+10%). All destinations have a positive growth in 2019, except for two of them: Romania and Iceland (mostly due to the collapse of Wow Air which reduced air connectivity).

As for the 2020 predictions, one of the biggest threats is the coronavirus crisis, which is felt to reduce Chinese travel to Europe between -7% and -25%. Previous pandemic crisis, SARS, caused a decrease of Chinese arrivals in Europe of -17%, according to Tourism Economics.

ETC Executive Director Eduardo Santander said concerning previous and future tourism performances:

Notwithstanding reduced trade tensions internationally and further clarity surrounding Brexit, heightened risks cannot be overlooked. The sector must seek to mitigate against these risks given the importance of tourism for European economic and social development. Diversifying marketing and promotion strategies, addressing shifts in consumer behaviour, strengthening collaboration among destinations and increasing measures to foster the sustainable development of tourism can all help destinations to remain competitive in the long run.

Similar positive performances were recorded in the hotel industry as well, according to Observatoire MKG / OlaKala_destination data. Several destinations had a RevPAR increase above +5%: Austria (+7.6%), Hungary (+7.1%), Belgium (+6.1%), Luxemburg (+5.9%), Italy (+5.4%), as well as Spain, Portugal and Czech Republic showing the same evolution (+5.1%).

On the other side, some destinations had a negative revenue per room in 2019: the Netherlands (-0.5%), Greece (-0.8%) and Latvia (-5.9%). Mature European destinations had a stable market evolution: Germany (+1.9%), France (+1.7%) and UK (+1.0%).

Most of the results went up thanks to a growth in occupation, even if the overall evolution of the Occupation Rate (OR) was neutral (+0.3 points to 72.9%) in Europe. Only Hungarian (-0.2 pts), British (-0.3 pts) and Latvian (-4.2 pts) OR decreased.

All Average Daily Rates went up, resulting in a global ADR increase of +1.9% to 98,10 € without VAT, except for the Netherlands, whose ADR fell by -0.6%. The record of ADR growth comes to Hungary, with a +7.5% evolution. Indeed, Hungarian tourism is on the upward trend in 2018, with an increasing number of tourism nights spent in the country, up +0.8% to a total of 31.3 million overnight stays.

If you want to know more about monthly results of the European Hotel Industry, check out our Trends Section on Hospitality ON, the professional Hub of the Industry.

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