Europe proves irrepressible to security challenges

Europe proves irrepressible to security challenges

Whilst overall growth slowed from 5% in 2015 to 2% in 2016, the majority of European destinations reported healthy growth in the last months of 2016 and the most visited region in the world still welcomed 620 million international arrivals last year, according to the European Travel Commission's latest report, "European Tourism - Trends & Prospects"

“Iceland remains the top growth destination with an extraordinary performance (+40%) followed by the outstanding performance of Cyprus (+20%) and Slovakia (+19%) owing to improved air connectivity and off-season visits. Bulgaria (+16%) also saw robust growth while other destinations such as Serbia and Portugal (both +13%) are increasingly becoming appealing."

Read the report here  

We asked Visit Iceland Director, Inga Hlín Pálsdóttir, for her View on the secret to Iceland's success, and T+L's Nathan Lump about the prospect of more arrivals from the US.

News Views

Exhibitor  View

"Today, tourism is the largest foreign revenue generating industry. There have been a number of contributing factors but we have been working hard in the last few years to make Iceland into a year-round destination, in all regions of Iceland. Our public/private marketing initative Inspired by Iceland has been pivotal in making Iceland recognised but I would say that the cooperation within the industry towards this common goal has been one of the keys to this success. People around the world are now more aware of Iceland being closer than you think and we have various new flight connections from different destinations - being only 3 hours from Europe and 5 hours from North America, which are our largest markets.

Nature has always been the biggest draw to Iceland, but now we measure more interest in experience of our culture, food, music and design, and festivals around Iceland are also being recognised. We are very proud of the creativity in our country  all year around.  Popular TV series and films are also putting Iceland on the map e.g. Game of Thrones, Fortitude and Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Now is the time to visit Iceland and explore all our different regions, in the west, east, north and south."

Media View

"Certainly I think all the uncertainty has its impact on the industry but the good news is that at least for our audience - those for whom travel is a hugely important part of their lives—over the years they have become more accustomed to this state of affairs. Lately we have seen no measurable negative impact on the degree to which they are travelling. While some of them may adjust where or how they travel based on their particular concerns at any given moment, they are definitely not stopping. They are still out there exploring the world, heading far afield and making adventurous choices, and not letting fear or anxiety get in their way. If anything I think some of this has made them more adventurous in a certain way than ever, since many of the places that are today perceived as being safer or more secure are also some of the most remote."

Exhibitor  View

"Cyprus has returned to health having experienced a remarkable rebound, mainly achieved on the basis of resilience and strong performance of key industries in Cyprus. It has broken free from the crisis, the economy is growing month by month, its reputation is enhanced, unemployment is falling, the island prepares for a shipping revival, infrastructure is undergoing major reform and new development are underway (such as new marinas and an all inclusive Casino resort),  tourism is booming and the popular holiday hot spot of Paphos is the the 2017 European Capital of Culture.

More than three million tourists visited Cyprus last year, a record, and most were attracted by its climate, security, Aphrodite's myth and many reasons to appreciate the island's important cultural and historical sites. The CTO plans to further encourage year round tourism by expanding the holiday months covering also shoulder and winter months and by further cultivating special interest segment tourism, such as golf, tracking in the Troodos mountains, diving and bird watching.

In addition to Cyprus's strategic location as a gateway between Europe and the Middle East, the island's attractions also include a stable political climate, security, a robust legal framework, membership of the EU and the Euro and a business-friendly tax environment. All these create growing confidence which is reflected in the continuous stream of investments and tourism flow to the island, that lead to the officials expressing optimism for further growth in the future."

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