(27 September 2013) – Despite the economic crisis, Europe remains one of the favourite destinations. International tourist arrivals in Europe grew by 5% during the first half of 2013, with best results recorded in Central and Eastern Europe (+9%) and Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+6%).
Among the Mediterranean countries, Spain led the way in 2013: it had 34 million tourists between January and July, and a 4% rise in international arrivals compared to last year. Tourism in Greece has grown by 9.2%, hosting around 7 million tourists in seven months. Malta (+10%) and Portugal (+8%) also reported healthy growth.
In Northern Europe results were also good but more modest (+3%), except for the United Kingdom, which recorded a 4% increase in arrivals following last year’s 2012 London Summer Olympics. France benefited from an increase in international visitors during the summer season, which compensated for a decrease in the number of local tourists.
Star performers in Central and Eastern Europe were Slovakia (+19%), Latvia (+11%) and Lithuania (+9%). Promising results also come from the new EU Member State: Croatia. The country has recorded a 5.4% increase in arrivals and a 3.3% increase in nights spent compared to 2012 figures. In the month of August only, registered arrivals in Croatia exceeded last year’s figures by 10%. Less satisfactory figures come from Cyprus, where arrivals of tourists decreased by 5.8% for the period January-July 2013.