The latest results from the Air Travellers' Traffic Barometer*, produced by European Cities Marketing and ForwardKeys, consolidated a year of solid growth for long-haul inbound tourism in Europe, despite terror attacks targeting tourists in some major destinations earlier in 2017. Markets showed more resilience and relatively fast recovery to these tragic events.
Number of long haul travellers increased by 14.1% in Q4 2017 compared to Q4 2016
All international arrivals in Europe grew by 7.1% in Q4 2017, invigorated by long-haul travellers (+14.1%). While intra-European travel showed moderate growth (+2.8%), arrivals from almost all the other regions maintained growth rates above 10%. Asia and Oceania were the best performing markets.
Leisure travellers had the largest absolute growth
Traveller profile of long-haul arrivals revealed a leisure-related behaviour: the fastest growing segments were those with medium lengths of stay and medium-sized groups (2 to 5 pax per booking). The average lead time extended as a consequence of the fast growth for longer lead time segment (120+ days).
Top 10 destinations reveal a shift towards leisure-related travel
London (18% share) remained the top destination for long-haul travellers, but Paris (16%) gained ground when compared with the equivalent quarter in 2016. Mediterranean destinations Istanbul, Rome, and Madrid, managed to surpass business-related destinations Frankfurt and Amsterdam, revealing a shift towards leisure-related travel in comparison with Q4 2016.
Bookings for Q1 2018 reveal a positive prospect for long-haul arrivals
7 out of 10 top European destinations welcome increased forward bookings with double-digit growth, revealing the healthy outlook for long-haul arrivals in Q1 2018. Forward bookings confirm an optimistic travel outlook for Q1 2018 (international arrivals ahead by 9.7%), again fuelled by long-haul arrivals, ahead by 13.3%. Cities of Istanbul (+52.5%), Amsterdam (+20.1%) and Paris (+17.6%) are the most promising destinations in Q1, appearing in both top 10 rankings by volume and by growth.
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