Europe on the Rise
Cyprus and Slovakia are seeing an increase in visitors.
The European Travel Commission’s February 2017 European Tourism—Trends & Prospects reported an overall 2 percent growth in international tourist arrivals to the continent last year. Iceland, whose continued growth we reported on earlier this year, again led the pack, with 40 percent growth in visitors. However, Cyprus and Slovakia were surprise standouts.
Cyprus came in second, with a 20 percent increase in 2016, more than double its 9 percent growth in 2015 and many times its 1.5 percent growth in 2014. Vassilis Themelidis, regional director of RCI, names two reasons for this trend: “The air accessibility of Cyprus from the main source markets has improved over the past two years,” he says, “and the Cypriot Tourism organization has played a vital role to promote inbound activity.” The long-awaited completion of the Limassol Marina, a complex with dining, residences, and shops on the southern coast, is also attracting travelers.
Slovakia also showed strong growth last year—19 percent. The country has a large domestic travel market and has seen increased visits from Germany, Poland, and Hungary. “The main reason for the growth in tourism is the improved infrastructures,” Themelidis says. He adds, “The development of additional hotels and the country’s accessibility by car from major urban centers like Vienna and Budapest make it a desirable destination.” Themelidis advises keeping an eye on countries near the Adriatic Sea, such as Slovenia, Croatia, and Montenegro, for future tourism growth.
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