Despite the odds being against European tourism growing for a fourth consecutive year, 2007 proved the doubters wrong and produced a further set of very impressive results for European tourism. It is fair to say that, as borders open up around the globe, currencies become stronger and visa regulations become less strict, tourism is becoming more popular everywhere and most people from most developed countries and even undeveloped countries are travelling more. However, Europe is now undeniably the centre of world tourism growth. The results even surpass the expectations of the UNWTO (United Nations World Travel Organisation).
The particular year 2007 is most surprising. Indeed, 2006 was packed with sporting events which attracted tourists from all corners of our planet. These included the FIFA world cup in Germany, the winter Olympics in Turin, the Ryder cup in Ireland and the regular yearly events all over Europe. In comparison, apart from the regular events, 2007 only hosted the rugby world cup in France and the America’s cup in Spain worthy of any recognition in terms of tourism revenue. There were further hindrances to tourism in 2007 such as increased fuel prices, higher taxes, stricter security and erratic weather. However, this did not stop the tourists from travelling and spending more.
The reason for this has been mainly put down to Europeans taking more breaks and holidays on a more frequent basis. Budget airlines have played a large role in people travelling much more frequently. Another plus point is the entrance of Eastern and Central European countries into the tourism market after their entries into the European Union. Although not in the EU, the biggest recent winners in European tourism have been Montenegro, Serbia, Iceland and Turkey. France comfortably holds the number one position in Europe for tourism, with an annual steady increase of 4%.
Do you think tourism will grow even in 2008? Add your comments.