Recent terrorist attacks and safety concerns have resulted in the stagnation of Europe’s tourist inflow. The Old Continent has registered a decrease of 0.9% in long haul travel during the summer season (June to August) compared to the same period last year. The upward trend of the previous five years (+6.2% on average) seems to come to an end.
European events such as the UEFA EURO in France or Youth World Day in Poland or End-of-Ramadan vacations boosted the tourist inflow in late June and early July. An increase of 7.9% was registered compared to last year. However, after such growth, the decline was even more evident (-4.3%).
In contrast to the major European destinations, secondary destinations flourished. While Spain (+10%), Russia (+19%), Ireland (+18.1%) and Poland (+26.1%) took advantage of the situation and change in travel preferences, Turkey (-26.7%), Belgium (-21.4%), France (-9.6%) and Germany (-4.1%) were the main losers of the summer season.
Data about the source markets are mixed. While North and South America both experienced an increase (+2.5% and +4.6% respectively), the number of travelers coming to Europe from other parts of the world suffered a decline. The decrease affected China (-3.7%), Brazil (-14.7%), Japan (-18%), UAE (-13%) and South Africa (-7.7%). Nevertheless, major markets like India (+5.3%), Saudi Arabia (+11.7%) or Canada with the USA (+1% and +4.3% respectively) managed to improve the situation.
Brazil has been affected by its bad economic situation, while the decline of the tourist inflow from other countries was mainly caused by the current safety concerns. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia sees Southern Europe (Italy and Spain) as fine alternatives to Turkey, while India expanded their European viewfinder and increased visits to the Netherlands and Russia.
All in all, it was a difficult summer season for major European destinations. It remains to be seen whether this trend continues or the situation improves.