Strong growth in Europe for first six months of 2015 - how about Finland?

Released 15.9.2015

According to European Tour Operator Association (ETOA) Europe has been having an increase of 5 % in volume.


The number of international tourist arrivals to Europe increased by 5% in the first half of 2015 according to the latest UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) Tourism Barometer. Europe’s strong performance was in line with similar levels of growth recorded in Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East, while the volume of arrivals to the Americas was slightly lower at 4%. These gains were slightly offset by the estimated 6% reduction in tourist numbers in Africa, where the impact of terrorism has quite clearly taking its toll on tourist demand.

Europe accounts for about one-half of all global arrivals and is benefiting from a weaker currency in the euro area. Growth was also driven by the recovery in Central and Eastern Europe (+6%), while Western Europe, Northern Europe and Southern Mediterranean Europe (each +5%) all outgrew the worldwide average.

In terms of outbound tourism, data for the first half of 2015 shows a diverse picture in spending abroad. Among the emerging markets, China and India both started the year with double-digit growth in the first quarter, while expenditure from the Russian Federation and Brazil reflected the slower economic growth in both markets and the depreciation of the rouble and the real against the US dollar and the euro.

It is quite clear that looking ahead there will be increasing pressures on tourism demand. UNWTO highlights safety and security as a continuing global concern, and this has intensified in recent months. At the same time, the economic picture has become more volatile with the recovery of advanced economies contrasting with the slowdown of emerging economies. The weaker growth in the Chinese economy will have a wider geographical impact as it spreads to other markets in Asia Pacific relying heavily on Chinese demand for goods and services. Several of these are beginning to emerge on the tourism as rapidly growing sources of visitor demand. Tourism flows are also being impacted by lower oil prices and currency fluctuations.

In recent weeks the refugee crisis in Europe could result in some softening of demand, although this will to a large extent be determined by how the situation is being reported by the media in source markets and its impact on perceptions of Europe.

Despite these increasing pressures, UNWTO expects international arrivals to increase by 3% to 4% worldwide for the whole year, in line with the long-term forecast of an average growth of 3.8% a year set for the period 2010 to 2020. At this rate of growth, Europe is well on course to pass the 600 million mark for the full year.

Results from Finland (comparing to 2014 January - June):

Finland: Total loss -2,2%, domestic +0,7 % and foreign -9,0%

Soon we are able to see the realistic view of visitors bednights when over a year of decline Russian visitors has passed. Finland was having still strong volume of Russian visitors in the beginning of 2014. Anyway Finland is not following the stream of other European destinations unfortunately.





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