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ECM survey shows London topping long-haul travellers’ destination choice

The latest results from the Air Travellers' Traffic Barometer*, produced by European Cities Marketing (ECM) and ForwardKeys, consolidated a year of solid growth for long-haul inbound tourism in Europe. The results came despite terror attacks targeting tourists in some major destinations earlier in 2017, as markets showed more resilience and relatively fast recovery to these tragic events.

The number of long haul travellers increased by 14.1% in Q4 2017 compared to Q4 2016, according to the survey.

All international arrivals in Europe grew by 7.1% in Q4 2017, while intra-European travel showed a more moderate growth rate (+2.8%). Asia and Oceania were the best performing markets.

Leisure travellers had the largest absolute growth, outperforming business travel. Olivier Jager (pictured) tells CN: “The Leisure travel segment had the largest absolute growth, but that is not to say business travel performed poorly.  In Q4 2017 the business travel segment was up +6.2% on Q4 2016.”

London (18% share) remained the top destination for long-haul travellers, but Paris (16%) gained ground when compared with the equivalent quarter in 2016. Mediterranean destinations Istanbul, Rome, and Madrid, managed to surpass business-related destinations Frankfurt and Amsterdam, revealing the shift towards leisure-related travel in comparison with Q4 2016.

And bookings for Q1 2018 are looking positive, the report notes.

Seven out of 10 top European destinations welcome increased forward bookings with double-digit growth, revealing the healthy outlook for long-haul arrivals in Q1 2018.

The cities of Istanbul (+52.5%), Amsterdam (+20.1%) and Paris (+17.6%) recorded the most promising figures for Q1, appearing in both top 10 rankings by volume and by growth.

European Cities Marketing is a non-profit organisation focused on improving the competitiveness of leading cities of Europe by providing a platform for convention, leisure and city marketing professionals to exchange knowledge and best practice. ECM has members in 100 major cities in 38 countries.

*This analysis is based on Air Reservation Data propriety of ForwardKeys® as of 31st December 2017. The report is based on data from air reservations made by passengers arriving in Europe and staying at least one night in a destination, therefore excluding: ‘Transits’ or ‘Day trips’.

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