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Tue, 3 November 2015

Europes Tourism Recovery Masks Long-Term Decline

Long-haul travel to Europe has enjoyed an encouraging summer and the upward trend in arrivals is expected to continue, according to the latest analysis from ForwardKeys, which monitors future travel patterns by analysing 14 million reservation transactions each day.

Total international long-haul arrivals from January to September were up 5.1% on the previous year and issued bookings (bookings for future travel, referred to as On The Book, 'OTB'), are up 4.8% for the rest of the year.

Sebastien Cron, Global Sales Director, ForwardKeys, said, While its widely recognised that Europe is losing its competitiveness, its good to see from our data that long-haul travel to Europe has been growing well recently, pushed up by a strong summer season, particularly in July.

What appears to be a strong performance this year needs to be set in the context of long-term relative decline.

Tom Jenkins, European Tourism Association CEO, urged industry experts not to be lulled into a false state of security over figures showing growth.

Travel and tourism in other parts of the world is increasing faster than in Europe. Although the statistics show we are continuing to grow at an average annual growth rate of 3.6% since 2007, the rest of world is growing at a rate of 5.7% over the same period, Mr. Jenkins said. Within Europe, the picture is mixed. Germany and the Netherlands have been the stand-out performers since 2007, displaying total tourism growth of 37% and 33% respectively for the period, a 4.6% and 4.2% annual average, whereas the UK and France have grown just 13% and 10% for the period an average of just 1.7% and 1.4% per annum. The European tourism industry is facing global competition. We need to be aware of what is going on in the major origin markets. The USA may finally be looking positive; Russia - Europes biggest volume market - is negative. China shows signs it may not be as promising as everyone seems to think.

Eduardo Santander, Executive Director, European Travel Commission, led the call to action on increasing Europes competitiveness, urging obstacles to be eliminated, including visas, excessive taxation of tourism and onerous regulation. He also called for a focus on the most important source markets, joint promotional strategies, increased promotional budgets and closer co-operation between the public and private sectors at continental, national, regional and local levels.

And he issued this warning: The European tourism industry is facing increasing global competition from emerging destinations that are attracting increasing numbers of tourists. Destinations in Asia and the Pacific will benefit from the expansion of intra-regional travel and by 2030, North-East Asia will replace Southern and Mediterranean Europe as the most visited sub-region.

ForwardKeys, Europe, Arrivals, RevPAR

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