European cities keep showing resilience despite slow economic growth, confirmed ECM Benchmarking Report 2016

In a troubled economic environment, European Cities’ tourism remains strong and keeps growing with 5.7% in total bednights and 6.3% in international bednights in 2015.

Even though Russian (-30.4%) and Japanese (-6.1%) markets decreased, the growth of Chinese (+28.7%) and Spanish (+10.9%) markets alone were able to make up the loss. In addition, the remaining 5 source markets all showed an increase between 3.7% up to 7.3% increase in 2015 compared to 2014.

ECM Benchmarking Report Cover 2015 2016 RVBOverall, the ECM Benchmarking Report 2016 states that over the last 5 years (2011‐2015), bednights in ECM Benchmarking Report cities (+15.9%) have been increasing at a faster rate than of the 28 EU nations (+10.9%). Thus confirming once again that city tourism is growing much faster than the national tourism in Europe.

Top Performing Cities

The 2015 top four cities in terms of total bednights held their rankings in 2015. London was the top performing city with the highest number of bednights as well as the highest growth rate (+9.8%) in the top 15 cities in terms of total bednights. Stockholm moved up two more in the rankings (11th) and had the second highest growth rate (9.7%). Paris, Berlin, and Rome maintained their position in the top performing cities, despite the fact that Paris had a 2.1% decrease in bednights in 2015. Madrid became the 5th in the rankings this year, passing its rival Barcelona with a growth rate of 8.7% being the third highest growth rate in the top 15 cities; followed by Lisbon (+7.5%) in terms of growth rate, which made the top 15 list this year.

Table 1. Top 15 European Cities – Total Bednights 2015

Destination Bednights 2015 2014-15
% change
1 *London 77,570,000 9.8%
2 *Paris 47,959,516 -2.1%
3 Berlin 30,250,066 5.4%
4 *Rome 26,420,620 4.1%
5 *Madrid 17,951,742 8.7%
6 *Barcelona 17,656,329 3.3%
7 Istanbul 16,899,509 6.4%
8 Prague 15,917,265 7.9%
9 *Vienna 15,138,670 5.3%
10 *Munich 14,055,968 4.5%
11 *Stockholm 12,918,890 9.7%
12 *Amsterdam 12,898,000 2.9%
13 Hamburg 12,639,295 5.3%
14 *Dublin 10,498,360 4.9%
15 *Lisbon 9,061,077 7.5%

*Refer to cities with different definitions and data rectifications.
Source: European Cities Marketing Benchmarking Report 2016


Produced by MODUL University Vienna, the European Cities Marketing Benchmarking Report provides the #1 source of city tourism statistics in Europe. ECM reports twice a year about the current state of the tourism industry. In March, the organisation provides first preliminary results and trends about the previous year, in June the ECM Benchmarking Report is presented containing detailed analyses and benchmarks of the past 5 years, as well as the forecast for the current year. For the 12th edition, European Cities Marketing (ECM) presented the ECM Benchmarking Report 2016 during its Annual Meeting & General Assembly in Madeira. The report not only covers statistics portraying tourism development for 121 European cities but also forms the basis for discussing major trends and developments in Europe among the member cities. The 12th edition of the European Cities Marketing (ECM) Benchmarking Report provides benchmarking insight into bednights, bed capacities as well as city tourism vs. national tourism analysis and a breakdown of tourist densities comparing city’s population vs. bednights in 2015.

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

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