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European tourism gathers momentum

16 February 2016 08:15

Icelandic tourism is growing rapidly

Icelandic tourism is growing rapidly

Holidaymakers are flocking to European destinations in significantly increasing numbers for the sixth successive year, according to new figures.

Nowhere is fuelling this growth more than Iceland, the European Travel Commission (ETC) reports.

Its European Tourism 2015 - Trends & Prospects study shows that Iceland enjoyed a 30% increase in international tourism numbers last year.

Europe's biggest tourism winners

The biggest-growing countries in terms of international tourism are:

- Iceland 30%

- Romania 17%

- Slovakia 16%

- Montenegro 15.5%

- Ireland 14%

Other countries which have shown substantial growth include Croatia and Portugal (both 10%) as well as Greece (8%).

Well covered in Europe

Europe pretty much covers all bases whether visitors want culture, architecture, natural attractions, sun-kissed beaches or parties.

It is a similar story with travel insurance, which can give holidaymakers peace of mind no matter where in Europe or elsewhere they travel.

Travel cover can reimburse tourists for a range of losses - from suitcases to sunglasses, from passports to medication.

Other end of the scale

According to the ETC report, the fastest-shrinking countries regarding overseas arrivals are said to be:

- Finland -5%

- Estonia -3%

- Turkey -1%

- Bulgaria -1%

All have suffered from a drop in visitor numbers from nearby Russia. Montenegro is the lone European exception in the region, enjoying a 6.4% growth in Russian arrivals.

Stat attack

- One in 20 European-bound tourists come from the US, at 25.7 million visitors.

- This percentage is likely to grow a full percentage point to 6% by the start of the next decade.

- The ETC's executive director Eduardo Santander predicts that European tourism will grow by a further 3% this year.

Beneficial factors

Europe is already the world's most visited area. The ETC says there are several factors behind the continued desire to travel there, including:

- The drop in the price of oil.

- More affordable holidays due to better exchange rates.

- The eurozone's continuing economic upsurge.