Ahead of City Fair 2013, ETOA’s European destinations workshop, a participant poll reveals genuine optimism.
International visits to the Algarve are 6.5% up on last season and Hugo Nascimento, Sun & Sea Product Manager, Algarve Promotion Bureau says: “The prospects for 2013 for the UK market are particularly good: in January we had an increase of 21% compared with January 2012.”
Nevenka Fuchs, Coordinator Marketing Department, Zagreb Tourist Board & Convention Bureau points out that during the period January-April 2013 the city has experienced an increase of 14% in international arrivals and 17% in overnight stays.
The latest European City Tourism Monitor from European Cities Marketing showed that 66% of participants expect an increase in the second quarter of 2013 and an overall increase in bed-nights in the whole of 2013 compared to 2012. In a recent survey of attendees at Travel Trade Athens, a destination showcase event run by the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA), 70% of buyer respondents said that customer demand for Athens trips in the near future was growing.
The factors driving growth are deemed to be local. Zagreb puts its growth down to Croatia’s entry into the EU and its new status as an EU capital city. In Puglia, the opening of Ryanair’s direct connection to Bari, has driven UK arrivals from 17,000 in 2003 to 32,000 in 2012. Antonio Montejo Romero from the Malaga City Visitors & Convention Bureau added: “Bed-nights occupied by British tourists were up by 11.51% in 2012″.
Hugo Nascimento says: “We’ve been working closely with the main tour operators and airlines, not to subsidise their operation but to help them in their sale with joint marketing campaigns in different markets. Events such as City Fair offer cities the opportunity to meet with new buyers from a range of established and new markets.”
Dieter Hardt-Stremayr, President of ECM, declared: “Overall performance in 2012 still lends weight to the view that city tourism is the dominant and most dynamic aspect of European tourism. The ECM Benchmarking Report 2012-13 report mentions that in 2012, the total number of bed nights in European cities increased by 2.8% compared to 2011. As in 2011 and 2010, international bed nights were the driving force of this increase with a growth rate more than double that of domestic bed nights. If you want to be on the winning side again, you would bet on city tourism this year and maximize your presence at workshops like City Fair!”
Tom Jenkins, ETOA’s Executive Director concluded, “The good news is that people want to travel. And the principal motivation for them is to see the infinite cultural variety of Europe’s cities. City Fair brings together these cities with those that can sell them to the world”.