EUROPE: POSITIVE OUTLOOK FOR TOURISM DESPITE A CHALLENGING YEAR

 

The European Tourism Commission’s Long-Haul Travel Barometer shows that the desire to visit Europe remains strong in most of the continent’s top long-haul markets.

America stimulates long-haul travel motivation to Europe

America is back! Not so much because of Donald Trump and his campaign exhorting America’s greatness, but because US travellers seem again to favour Europe for their long haul holidays.

This is probably the most important positive trend observed by the European Tourism Commission (ETC) in its October Long-Haul Travel Barometer. The survey analyses long-haul markets’ sentiment for visiting Europe in the near future. By exploring respondents’ travel preferences and motivations, it provides valuable insights into the long-haul travel trends from Europe’s highest-volume outbound travel markets – the USA, China, Brazil, Japan and Russian Federation.

America is due to be 12 points higher for travellers’ sentiments towards Europe, mostly due to the dollar strengthening while Asian markets (China and Japan) are affected by safety issues.

Conducted at the end of the summer, the travel sentiment for the final four months of the year was analysed as positive in three out of Europe’s five surveyed markets. As indicated American respondents seem enthusiastic to the idea to come to Europe. The ETC in fact saw an increase in US interest throughout the year more than one in three respondents planning to visit the continent in the winter months.

From a 100-base index for the period January-April 2015, the index over the travel sentiment of US citizens to Europe reaches index 112 for the end of the year. US enthusiasm is supported by the strengthening of the US Dollar towards the Euro and the Sterling.

etc-long-haul-2016

Europe’s Well-Known Destinations Continue to Fuel the Interest of Long-Haul Travellers (ETC)

China and Japan are only up by one point over 2015

Although the appetite of Chinese travellers has been declining in recent months- particularly following the bombing in Paris and Brussels during winter 2015/16, the overhaul trend for the year is still positive according to the ETC. The travel sentiment of Chinese respondents stands one point above index 100 of early 2015. However, the travel sentiment is down by six points since early 2016.

Half of all Chinese respondents planning to travel outside China until the end of 2016 express their interest to visit at least one European country. A weakening trend is also to be seen for Japan. Although Japanese travel sentiment is still higher at index 101 to visit Europe by the end of 2016 compared to early 2015, Japan demand collapsed the positive feeling of Japanese to travel to Europe still stands at 101 after reaching index 104 for the period May-August 2016.

Russia and Brazil are now below index 100 of early 2015. While safety issues might be for both markets a source of concern, the negative trend is due to the sharp devaluation of local currencies linked to weak economic conditions in both countries. Although the Russian outbound market seems now to stabilise or even grows slightly, it benefits mostly to sun-related destinations such as Thailand, Kenya or Dubai.

Interestingly, France continues to remain the most popular destination to be potentially visited among Europe’s top long-haul markets, except in Russia. Interest towards France fluctuates between 34% for Japan to 49% for China. Italy comes second with interest fluctuating between 13% for Russia to 45% for Brazil. It is followed by Germany on a scale of 14% to 37% and Spain on a scale of 16% to 29% and the UK which hangs between 20% and 21%.

Enjoying landscapes is the favourite motivation to Europe followed by visiting iconic sites and learn about history and cultural heritage. Brazilians however are mostly motivated by knowing local cultures and enjoy culinary experiences.

Article by LUC CITRINO 

Photo credit: Paris @ Night by Benh LIEU SONG