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ETOA on tourism: Sunny days are here again

ETOA on tourism:  Sunny days are here again

According to a report by ForwardKeys, published today at the World Travel & Tourism Council summit in Bangkok, Europe will see double-digit growth forecast of long-haul visitors. Using its insight into airline data, ForwardKeys sees a 14% surge in bookings for Europe from the Americas; there is also strong outbound growth from China (4%) India (8%) Brazil (24%) and Russia (25%).

This is particularly heartening as Russia and America are the two biggest origin markets for Europe.

“The good news is the recovery from bad news,” says Tom Jenkins, CEO of ETOA. “Strong forward bookings are a sign that there is a welcome dose of normality. And we are starting to see real resilience in the market. There seems to be a more robust attitude towards the scale and nature of threats. Thirty years ago, one incident would trigger a landslide in bookings. Today it barely creates a ripple. The incidents last month in London had virtually no impact on confidence. So no news is good news, and we appear to be better at handling the bad news. Consumers are defeating terror.”

“Beyond that there are so many variables, the biggest of which is currency. People buy on price: so what we are witnessing is an obvious by-product of a strong dollar, a weak euro and a genuinely sick pound. This is particularly acute where it is the service economy that is the main draw.”

“It also ought to be noted that this increase in inbound travel is occurring alongside growth in intra-European traffic to Europe.  According to UNWTO, in 2016, which was by no means a vintage year, Europe saw a growth of international arrivals of 2%. So Europe is not returning to growth – it is growing faster. “

“The challenge that faces Europe will be how to accommodate extra visitors. The demand from the BRIC markets is mainly first time visitors.  These share a desire to see the principal attractions of Europe. How we meet this desire is going to be one of the main problems to be tackled in the coming decade. It is a major issue, but it is a result of success: so it must be treated as a welcome problem.