Europe saw a 4% rise in international tourist arrivals year on year in 2019, the European Travel Commission (ETC) has reported.

Turkey enjoyed one of the sharpest increases with a 14% rise in international visitors on 2018, Portugal saw a 7% increase and Montenegro a 21% rise.

The ETC’s latest quarterly report, European Tourism Trends and Prospects, noted the US remains Europe’s largest long-haul market, with Turkey seeing the highest growth in US arrivals at 30%, followed by Cyprus (27%).


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However, the ETC warned of this year: “Restrictions and bans to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will take a toll on the industry.”

ETC executive director Eduardo Santander said: “Heightened risks cannot be overlooked. The sector must seek to mitigate these.

“Diversifying marketing and promotion strategies, addressing shifts in consumer behaviour, strengthening collaboration among destinations and measures to foster sustainable development can help destinations remain competitive in the long term.”

Separately, hospitality industry analyst STR reported a 29% increase in European hotel room construction year on year in January.

Germany led the way with more than 52,500 rooms under construction, representing almost 8% of existing supply.

The UK was second with 42,000 or 6%, Spain third with almost 26,500 (4%) and Portugal fourth with almost 8,800 (7%).