The latest results from the Air Travellers’ Traffic Barometer*, produced by European Cities Marketing and ForwardKeys, highlighted that the year has been kicked off with solid growth in its first quarter. Eastern destinations are still growing at incredible rates and traditional destinations such as Rome make a comeback.
Number of long haul travellers increased by 12.5% in Q1 2018 compared to Q1 2017
Total international arrivals in Europe grew by 6.1% in Q1 2018, invigorated by long-haul travellers (+12.5%) while intra-European travel showed moderate growth. Arrivals from most regions maintained growth rates above 10%.
The Middle East (+18.1%) and Central & South America (+17.3%) led the way internationally in terms of arrivals growth.
Leisure travellers segment is growing steadily
The traveller profile of long-haul arrivals maintained a growing leisure-related behaviour. This is indicated by the larger pax per bookings growing the most, as well as lead times of greater than 120 days, increasing more than any other category.
A return to more traditional destinations
The top two destinations for long-haul travellers, London (18%) and Paris (16%) kept the same shares as in the previous quarter. Istanbul’s immense steadfast growth has led it to become the 3rd top destination, with a share increase of 2 percentage points. Seville jumped from a 18.2% increase in arrivals to 33.1%. New cities to the Top 10 growing destinations compared to Q4 2017 include Rome, Budapest and Amsterdam, which mark a return to more traditional destinations.
Forward bookings in general confirm a positive travel outlook for Q1 2018 (international arrivals ahead by 2.2%)
Although bookings for intra-European travel is seeing a decline of 3.6%, long-haul arrivals, ahead by 8.3%, are still making up for this. The robust growth seen last quarter has slowed down, partly because the rebound from the terrorism-related crashes has ended. Istanbul (+50.5%) is again the most promising destinations in Q2, appearing in both top 10 rankings by volume and by performance. Swiss destinations Geneva and Zurich are new additions to the 10 fastest growing destinations in forward bookings, possibly thanks to the recent depreciation of the Swiss Franc, making Switzerland a more affordable destination.
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