Benchmarking the triumph of the European City

European Cities have out-performed nations and have become the driving force in the development of European tourism. The evidence and the facts are clear to see in the recently published 9th edition of “The European Cities Marketing Benchmarking Report”, the main reference in Europe for urban tourism, compiled by MODUL University in Vienna

London, Paris and Berlin continued to lead Europe’s “Big 5” Cities in terms of volume of bed nights in 2012 and Barcelona, the only non-capital city on the short list, edged out Madrid for the fifth spot.


But how have individual Cities within Europe performed against each other over the long term? The trend indicates that key cities in Germany, Barcelona, Milan, Rome and Vienna have out-performed their bench-mark. Strikingly, Berlin grew by 8.8 % compared to a 1% growth in London.


The report goes on to cluster the surveyed cities in terms of their 5 years growth performance with domestic and international tourism.




City tourism is characterized by a far more international guest mix share than tourism on a national level. However, the past five years show quite significant differences in the dynamic of growth and internationalization. So called ‘boom town cities‘ include Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Copenhagen and Vienna contrast with ‘Ghost town ‘ cities such as London, Paris; ‘ Home town’ cities such as Helsinki and ‘ Host town’ cities such as Barcelona.

Commenting on the results, Ignasi de Delàs, the newly appointed President of ECM said : “these results are fascinating and provide crucial insights into European city competitiveness and competitor sets.  All the European Cities have been successful but they appear to be emerging with their own personality and perhaps their own set of opportunities and challenges.”

Burkhard Kieker, CEO of VisitBerlin said: “the German cities have all put in a very strong performance. More international guests are coming to Berlin and we have made strong growth in the convention and association sector. This is partly a consequence of our increased footprint in target markets. “

Tom Jenkins director of the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) said : “London benchmarked against Berlin and the performance of Cities generally is staggering. Our tour operators will be eager to use this report to align their product to what looks like a significant shift in the travel industry. It is bound to be a hot topic at the next City Fair on June 24, 2013….”

Karl Wöber, President of MODUL University Vienna and Technical Advisor of ECM said : “the only approach to celebrate the real success of a city, is by benchmarking the performance against each other. The economic recession has hit cities all over Europe, however, the example of Spain shows that not all cities are coping with these challenges at the same pace.”



Over 120 pages, the European Cities Marketing Benchmarking report provides other fascinating insights into the relative cost of visiting cities.  Europe’s cheapest Big Mac is in Zagreb.  A 3-course business lunch is four times more expensive in Geneva than Vilnius. The average price of a European Espresso is €2.56 but only €1.50 in Genoa and €4 in Malmö.  Museums are free in Copenhagen but €20 in Basel. Plus other insights into the comparative costs of museums, taxis, hop-on-hop off buses, public transportation, classical concerts and zoo entrances!

The report costs € 990 with the full dataset of figures, and is free for members of European Cities Marketing. The report can be ordered from



*ECM (European Cities Marketing) improves the competitiveness and performance of leading cities of Europe by providing a platform for convention, leisure and city marketing professionals to exchange knowledge, best practice and widen their network to build new business. European Cities Marketing is promoting and linking the interests of 110 members from more than 100 major cities in 32 countries.
For more information and pictures, please contact:
Flavie Baudot,,
+33 380 56 02 00

* MODUL Research is a subdivision of MODUL University Vienna that aims to bridge the two domains of basic and applied research. MODUL Research engages in research projects that provide workable solutions to problems that private firms, industry associations, groups in civil society, and governmental organisations have identified as important.
For more information and pictures, please contact:
Prof. Karl Wöber, President