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Tourism in Europe: What to expect in 2018 and beyond


Today’s AP voice is from our VP of sales for Europe, Rick Schultheis.


Since the financial crisis in 2008, it has taken a long time for Europe’s economy to recover, and while the recovery has started and stalled, the prospects for 2018 and beyond look good. Europe is the world’s most visited region. And that means abundant opportunities for independent hotels to push their sales and marketing to attract leisure and corporate travellers.


Europe saw 671 million international tourist arrivals in 2017, 50 million more than in 2016. 77% of inbound travel spending is on leisure and the remaining 23% by corporate travellers. More than a third (35%) of trips to Europe are between 0-3 days, while 27% of trips for 4-7 days and an additional 27% of trips are 12 days or more.


Here we look at travel trends in a few of Europe’s core tourism markets.


1) The UK: Despite the political and economic confusion surrounding the specifics of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, the UK will remain Europe’s leading hotel market in 2018 and most likely into 2019. The decline in the pound is also helping draw tourists from across Europe and globally, in particular Chinese and American tourists. While growth for the UK isn’t as strong compared to emerging destinations due to it being a mature market, we do anticipate more interest in cities outside of London in 2018. In 2018, Liverpool celebrates ten years of tourism success since being named European Capital of Culture in 2008 and has many events planned for travellers.


2) Western Europe: The enduring allure of Paris will attract tourists for a long time to come, while fairy-tale castles draw travellers to Germany. Dublin remains a popular destination for both inter-Europe and international travellers, such that the city will see a steady rise in hotel development into 2020. One interesting trend is that Western Europe is no longer just a favoured region of travel for the summer months. Christmas markets, world-class skiing, a chance to see the northern lights are all contributing to a higher interest in travel to the area across the winter months.


3) Eastern Europe: Hoteliers in Eastern Europe are optimistic after an uptick in occupancy in 2017. Current forecasts anticipate 2018 hotel price projection for the area to be 6.6%. The Balkans are seeing some of the strongest interest across Europe. Slovenia and Croatia saw an increase of 17% and 14% respectively. Latvia, Romania, Estonia and the Czech Republic also saw double-digit growth in 2017. Revenue per available room growth is expected for most major cities across Europe in 2018 with Budapest and Porto leading. Often seen as being more value for money than Western Europe, the countries of Eastern Europe also benefit from strong travel routes, ample accommodation and a perception of the region as an off-the-beaten-track destination.


4) Southern and Mediterranean Europe: Lisbon, Porto, Rome, Barcelona, Malta, Istanbul. Each ooze old world charm that is a beacon to tourists. The region saw 13% more travellers in 2017, with Turkey and most of the countries across the area seeing a double-digit rise in visitors. Spain, Italy and Portugal continue to see sustained growth rates. With a halt on hotel construction, Barcelona could enter the list of the top five cities for occupancy rates, resulting in higher rates and more competition. Malta and Turkey are proving to be favoured destinations for travellers wanting to explore new frontiers.


Are you a European-based hotel? How can you make the most of the continued interest in your region? We’re happy to have a discussion with you about how our sales and marketing support can help you attract your target audience.

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