These trends are also reflected in the latest analysis from ForwardKeys, which monitors future travel patterns by analysing 14 million reservation transactions each day. Total international long-haul arrivals in the period January to September were up 5.1% on the previous year. The number of issued bookings for future travel are up 4.8% for the rest of the year.
Relative to the US dollar, the euro is weaker than it has been at any other point in the past decade, which has contributed to price attractiveness for Eurozone destinations. On the economic front, cheaper oil, currently residing at a ten year low, has also helped boost real household incomes in net importing countries, which in turn has increased consumer expenditure.
In terms of specific country destinations, the standout performances were mainly among the smaller and emerging tourism economies of Europe. Iceland and Romania continued to enjoy healthy growth following 27% and 18% increases respectively. Greece has also enjoyed a very strong year to date, with arrivals one-fifth higher than the same period in 2014. In the Balkans region, Slovenia (13%) and Serbia (13%) posted sound results. In neighbouring Montenegro, arrivals were 12% stronger, an especially positive performance given the diminishing number of Russian visitors. The more established destination of Ireland reported a 12% uplift in volumes, while Slovakia has also enjoyed a substantial boost in popularity (12%).
Among Europe’s major tourism economies, Germany (7%) and Italy (6%) have seen the fastest growth in 2015, the latter potentially benefiting from the Milan Expo.
In contrast to the growth seen in so much of Europe, northern destinations in the Baltics region continue to face difficulties, with Lithuania, Finland and Estonia still affected by the slowdown in tourist arrivals from Russia.
Prospects for the full year are looking very positive, and if the rate of growth seen to date is maintained throughout the year, Europe will comfortably pass the significant milestone of 600 million international arrivals in 2015.