Hotel occupancy across Europe higher than this time last year

Hotel occupancy across Europe in the first quarter of 2013 is at higher levels than it was a year earlier.

The findings were published by the European Travel Commission (ETC) this week in their first quarterly report on European tourism for the year, which shows a 2.7% growth in hotel occupancy.

The statistics, released by STR Global, show that Eastern and Northern destinations continued to experience occupancy growth – with sustained Russian demand growth likely having an influence – while the continent’s traditional tourism hotspots such as Spain, the UK, Italy, Turkey, Germany and Portugal also experienced growth.

It means that the outlook for European tourism in 2013 remains positive, especially as the data combines with pleasing European air transport statistics which also showed growth.

The ETC report stated: “Occupancy in European hotels in early 2013 has been higher than a year earlier with growth apparent in all sub-regions – this represents something of a turnaround in fortunes from late 2012.

“It should be noted that some slower supply growth is a factor, but continued demand growth is clear, especially combined with European air transport growth.”

It added: “Occupancy in early 2013 is reportedly growing in more countries than it is falling, including some large volume markets.

“The more extreme year-over-year differences in occupancy, such as the growth in Slovakia and fall in Greece for example, are not expected to be representative of the likely rate for 2013 as a whole but are indicative of direction.”

Without doubt, the current and predicted European tourism growth will be welcomed news amid the general economic gloom, and it’s hoped that the industry can play a key role as a tool for economic development and job creation – both within the continent and further afield.

Indeed, it’s expected that the total contribution of travel and tourism to the world economy will expand to 3.2% and be responsible for just under 266 million jobs.

However, the ETC were keen to stress it’s not a time for resting on laurels and even more should be done to capitalise on further growth in order to help the economy.

In the report, the ETC Market Intelligence Group said: “Growth-supporting actions should be taken to maximize tourism contribution to weak economies, especially in Europe’s peripheral areas.

In the immediate future, marketing and promoting Europe overseas will facilitate the rising demand for international travel, as a weaker euro makes European destinations more appealing for long-haul markets.
“In the medium term, easing visa regimes and reducing taxation would help the industry contribute even more to broader economic development.”

One consistent showing no signs of bucking the trend is the soaring levels of Chinese tourists descending on European destinations, and while the report also revealed an increase in domestic accommodation demand – something Tourism Economics have tracked over time and believe it is clear this demand share increases in times of economic downturn when many people cut back on the cost of travelling abroad – the long-haul markets such as Asia and the Americas will continue to be a key target for many European countries striving to maximise their tourism potential.

To view the full report visit http://www.etc-corporate.org/reports/tourism-trends.

Photo courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org.

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