European outbound travel market posts solid growth amid economic difficulties

Published on : Thursday, December 12, 2013

europe-travel-figuresThe European travel industry shrugs off the financial difficulties to emerge as a substantially strong tourism market in the world travel industry in 2013. Europe has had a good year for outbound and inbound travel and tourism in 2013 despite the continent’s economic problems. Higher growth is predicted for outbound travel next year while inbound travel might be somewhat slower.

European outbound travel has shown solid moderate growth at a high level this year. Outbound trips grew by 2.5% from January to August 2013, according to the European Travel Monitor® from IPK International. Overnight stays increased by 2% and spending rose by 1%. Europeans again went on shorter trips this year, with the average length of one stay dropping by 2% to 7.9 nights. This trend, already apparent in recent years, was due to a combination of more short trips (+9%) and fewer long trips (-1%). Spending went up by 1% overall. Spending per night went up by 2% to € 114 but the average spending per trip dropped by 1% to € 904 due to the shorter average length of trips.

Most European source markets grew solidly this year, although there were extremes at both ends of the range. Russia was Europe’s fastest growing outbound travel market this year, with a 12% increase in outbound trips in the first eight months of the year, and France was surprisingly strong in view of the country’s weak economy, with a 5% rise. Sweden and the UK (both +3%) also grew well, and German trips increased by 2%. In contrast, Spain (-4%) and Italy (-5%) again slumped due to their economic problems.

European outbound growth was equally spread between short-haul and long-haul destinations, with a 2% rise in each. The main overseas winners in terms of attracting more European visitors were South America (+9%), the Pacific (+6%) and Africa (+3%) while Asia (+2%), Central America (+2%) and North America (+1%) had more moderate rises. In contrast, European travel to the Caribbean slumped by 8%.

The leisure travel market has surpassed the overall market so far this year. Holidays were up by 3% and other leisure travel increased by 4%. All major types of holiday grew well, with strong growth for countryside visits (+12%) and ’snow’ holidays (+8%) in particular, with moderate growth for sun & beach holidays (+3%) and city trips (+2%). In contrast, European business travel declined by 1% as companies cut back on travel spending given the tough business climate in many countries. Bookings via the internet continued to grow fast, rising by 12%, while bookings through travel agencies rose only by 3%.

Source: WTTR Report.

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