Europe: leading destination worldwide for the eighth consecutive year

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Published on 19/02/18 - Updated on 17/03/22

Destination européenne

Europe welcomed 671 million international tourist arrivals in 2017, an outstanding 8% growth compared to 2016 (+2%), according to the latest European Travel Commission’s “European Tourism 2017–Trends & Prospects” report.

Turkey (+28%) experienced an impressive rebound in visitor arrivals with growth largely driven by arrivals from Russia (+465.2%). Iceland (+24%), the fastest growing destination since 2012, showed robust results while its government is considering measures to address ‘’overtourism’’.

Destinations in Southern Europe/ Mediterranean - Montenegro (+19%), Serbia (+18%) Malta (+16%), Slovenia and Cyprus (both +15%) - also boosted growth. Finland (+14%) enjoyed a solid increase fueled by Chinese and Indian arrivals. Established summer destinations Croatia (+14%), Portugal (+12%) and Spain (+9%) also saw healthy growth. In Spain political tensions in Catalonia seem to not have weighed down tourism demand while improved air connectivity continues to underpin Portugal’s strong performance.

According to ETC, regional expansion was supported by the economic growth in major source markets and the recovery of destinations previously affected by security concerns. France and Germany continued to be sources of notable growth in arrivals for several European destinations. Growth in arrivals from the UK largely continued despite a weakened Pound.

Russian outbound travel has picked up following years of decline. A stronger US dollar and competitive air fares contributed to growth in tourist arrivals from the US, up 12% in 2017 compared to 2016. Europe saw a 16% increase in arrivals from China in 2017, compared to flat growth in 2016.

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