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European tourism faces “tremendous challenges” despite seeing an increase in arrivals over the summer.
According to new figures from ForwardKeys, which analyses 14 million reservation transactions each day, international long-haul arrivals from January to September were up 5.1% on the previous year and bookings for future travel are up 4.8% for the rest of the year.
Addressing the audience at the Destination Europe Summit 2015 in London on Thursday, Peter De Wilde, president of the European Travel Commission (ETC), said: “We face tremendous challenges. The perception around the world is that Europe is one destination.
“We want to make Europe as a destination stronger.”
Tom Jenkins, chief executive of the European Tourism Association (ETOA) has also warned 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”, he said.
Although statistics show Europe is 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%.
He said he was “very concerned” that Europe was losing its market share but the “good news” was that demand from north America for next year was going up.
Within Europe, Germany and the Netherlands have been the leading performers since 2007, with 37% and 33% tourism growth respectively.
This is in contrast to the UK and France which have grown just 13% and 10%.
Eduardo Santander, executive director at ETC, also led calls for Europe to increase competitiveness, urging governments to remove obstacles, including visas, excessive taxation of tourism and onerous regulation.
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