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News Article

European City Tourism shows strong growth in 2017

Bednights increase by 7.7%

European Cities Marketing (ECM) announced a 7.7% growth in city tourism in 2017, with the domestic market increasing by 5.2% and the international market by 9.2%, respectively. This is a similar rise to the 8% increase in European tourism overall, recently reported by the European Travel Commission. It follows a difficult year in 2016 in which tourism in many destinations was affected by fear of terrorist attacks. The top 10 cities in terms of bednights stayed the same as the previous year, with London, Paris, and Berlin at the top of the list.

The data come in the preliminary results from the forthcoming European Cities Benchmarking Report. The preliminary data feature results from 65 out of 121 cities, representing a total of 456.9 million bednights. The top 10 cities for total bednights remain the same as in 2016, except that Madrid took over Barcelona (which was heavily affected by the Catalan referendum) as the 5th city in the ranking. London is well ahead of all other cities in both total and international bednights, with Paris also retaining a significant lead in second place. Berlin has the third highest number of total bednights ahead of Rome in fourth place, while for international bednights Rome takes third place, followed by Prague and Barcelona before Berlin.

As for source markets Russia showed a tremendous increase of 27.3%, followed by China (17.3%) and USA (15.5%), while Italy (-3.4%) continued to decrease. The main source markets of USA (12%), Germany (8%), and UK (7%) make up approximately 30% of the international source markets for European cities. Besides Italy, the only other source market that showed a decrease was Spain (-0.4%).

Tourism development in 2017 was driven by a positive economic development in overseas markets, the volatility in international airline connectivity (airberlin, NIKI, Monarch, Alitalia), and travelers getting used to the increasing threat of terrorism around the world leading to a strong recovery and decreasing sensitivity.

ECM President, Dieter Hardt-Stremayr says: “We can see that European city tourism is still growing at an even faster pace than the years before. This development is particularly driven by positive economic developments in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) markets showing high percentage increases, as well as a strong recovery of tourism demand in cities affected by terrorism in 2016. Even though European cities have also struggled of crises in 2017, it seems that travelers are getting used to the increasing threat of terrorism around the world leading to a strong recovery and decreasing sensitivity. Since the demand in 2016 shifted from capitals and premiere league cities towards smaller cities and developing cities, city tourism in Europe could showcase its diversity which resulted in ongoing growth for the hidden gems in 2017.”

Charts and further data are available for free at The 14th edition of the European Cities Marketing Benchmarking Report will be available for purchase in July 2018.

Article details

  • Author(s)
  • David Simpson
  • Date
  • 06 March 2018
  • Source
  • European Cities Marketing
  • Subject(s)
  • Hospitality Sector
  • Tourism