Understanding Growth Potential from Long-Haul Travel Markets: European Tourism Portfolio Analysis


It is widely acknowledged that tourism is one of the world’s most dynamic economic sectors offering multiple opportunities for growth and development. Europe, as the world’s number 1 tourist destination, has seen growing visitor numbers for the past six years marked by a record figure of more than 600 million tourist arrivals in 2015. While these growth trends have been largely above the region’s forecast long-term trend of +2.7% (2010-2020)*, new players have entered the global travel market spearheaded by fast-emerging destinations in Asia & the Pacific.

Europe’s market share is therefore expected to decline in the decade to come. European destinations acknowledge the need to remain competitive in a sector that is swiftly adapting to the diverse needs of travellers from both established and emerging markets. A significant measure in this effort is the diversification of the region’s guest mix by targeting potential travellers outside the dominant intra-European markets.

In order to assess investments and to reap the economic benefits of increased volumes and spending from emerging extra-European markets, the European tourism sector is in need of a better understanding of these presumed growth potentials overseas. The European Travel Commission (ETC) commissioned this study in order to investigate the current and future portfolio of extra-European inbound travel and markets’ potential benefits in terms growth, volume and inbound revenue.

* World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

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