‘Safety’ is key for travellers choosing European destinations

Malta retains top five ranking in European Travel Commission’s trending destinations in 2017

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
19 July 2017, 8:00am
Malta and Cyprus saw 2016 growth in double-digit territory and this momentum carried through into 2017
Malta and Cyprus saw 2016 growth in double-digit territory and this momentum carried through into 2017
Malta has retained a top five spot in the European Travel Commission’s trending destinations for peak summer months.

As temperatures soar on the Mediterranean rock, the island finds itself in the company of Cyprus but also Finland, Montenegro and Iceland as the European travel destination in most demand, according to the ETC’s trends report for 2017.

And it is clear that travellers wary of security concerns are opting for ‘safe’ countries perceived to be off the hotspot map.

“Early indicators point at another year of rapid growth for European tourism destinations… perceptions of safety and security across Europe will continue to drive displaced travel and is likely to slow the rate of expansion in the region,” the ETC said in its trends report for 2017. 

Iceland is Europe’s fastest growing travel destination of 2017 so far, marking a six-year streak that shows no sign of slowing. With a 56% spike in visits, the country is actually taking measures to manage capacity in the light of accommodation and local infrastructure constraints. The Nordic nation has also hosted movies and shows like “Game of Thrones”, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “Interstellar”, and can boast unique natural surroundings unparalleled in the rest of Europe.

But growth has continued in other destinations with outstanding results observed in Montenegro (+25%) and island destinations, Malta (+23%) and Cyprus (+18%).

Malta and Cyprus saw 2016 growth in double-digit territory and this momentum carried through into 2017. “For destinations with a high dependency on peak summer demand, growth outside this period is indicative of a welcome reduction in seasonality,” the ETC said.

Many European destination countries experienced strong growth in tourism from Germany. Malta alone saw 60% growth in arrivals and 66.4% growth in overnights in the first four months of 2017.

The report also says that Finland has become especially interesting for Chinese travellers, with a sizable number of arrivals from China this year. A similar trend is also seen for Estonia.

Improved air connectivity is credited with helping Portugal, Serbia and Croatia boost their arrivals numbers, while Croatia and Bulgaria also saw a notable increase in visitors from the United Kingdom.

Top 10 fastest growing destinations in Europe

1. Iceland

2. Montenegro

3. Malta

4. Finland

5. Cyprus

6. Bulgaria

7. Portugal

8. Serbia

9. Croatia

10. Spain

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.