European Cities Marketing announced 4.2% growth in city tourism in 2015. London, Paris and Rome take top slot; China grew by 32%, while Italy and Russia are struggling to recover.
European Cities Marketing has demonstrated the dominant and most dynamic aspect of European tourism: city tourism, which for years has continued to grow twice as fast as national tourism. Based on the preliminary results of the upcoming European Cities Marketing Benchmarking Report, European cities maintained their strong growth trend, with total bednights up 4.2% in 2015. Bednights by international tourists grew at an even faster rate (+4.4%) than the figure for domestic visitors (+4.0%). The preliminary data is drawn from the results for 61 of 110 cities, representing a total of 373.9 million bed-nights.
London and Paris recorded about 100 million bednights between them, and continued to lead Europe’s city tourism industry in terms of total bednights in 2015. A 2.1% decline for Paris was attributable mainly to the terrorist attacks. Berlin managed to retain third place among the top five cities together with Rome, achieving a milestone of 30 million bednights. In the ongoing neck-and-neck duel for fifth place, after two years of ranking sixth, Madrid overtook Barcelona with strong growth of +8.7%. Of the top 10 European cities in terms of international bednights, above-average growth was achieved by Madrid (+12.8%), Berlin (+9.1%), Budapest (+6.9%), Prague (+7.0%), Vienna (+6.1%) and Rome (+4.7%).
Main source markets Germany, USA, UK – China still strongest growing market, Italy & Russia in decline
Germany, the USA, and the UK once again topped the list of source markets, representing 28% of bednights in European cities. China continued to be the strongest growing market (+32%), doubling its 2014 growth rate. After a promising recovery in 2014, bednights from Italy again fell by 5.3%. Bednights from Russia again decreased dramatically (-31%), though this was compensated for by positive growth in bednights from the UK (+8.1%) and the USA (+7.1%).
These results represent compelling evidence of the economic significance of contemporary urban tourism. Cities are therefore the dominant geographical focus of European tourism, especially the lucrative – and hence highly desirable – short break, congress and convention segments.