ECM Benchmarking Report 2013-2014

Benchmarking-report-bannerWhat is the main purpose of the ECM Benchmarking Report and who will find it useful? 

The European Cities Marketing Benchmarking Report measures how city tourism in Europe has developed on the basis of 115 European cities. The report has become the number one source of city tourism statistics in Europe and gives valuable information about many aspects of the performance of a city. The report is most valuable for a comprehensive overview of city tourism in Europe. However, the real added value lies in the numerous possibilities to dig into detailed data using the charts and data file enclosed. It helps cities monitor and identify both their closest competitors and the development of source markets in those competitor cities. One of the main advantages is the ability to analyse how our share of source markets is changing. These key indicators are indispensable when evaluating annual marketing strategy.

Apart from city marketing organisations, what other organisations will be interested in the data from the ECM Benchmarking Report?

The possible range of interested parties is extremely wide – potentially any organisation that acts on an international level or has competitors within the scope of international tourism. Apart from ECM members, the report is often requested by national tourism organisations, international hotel and restaurant chains, universities, and of course consultancy services… the list is long. Already in its 10th anniversary edition the report is improving every year. There is a huge demand from industry and the media are always curious about the latest figures. Basically there is something for everybody once the best stories are identified from the wealth of information. The ECM Benchmarking Report is essential reading for city tourism professionals and their stakeholders.

Which cities can participate in the project and be included in the report?

Currently we have 115 participating cities. The number one condition for participation is to have reliable statistical data on the specific city destination and a person who is willing to invest some time at least once a year to enter the data into the TourMIS system ( The report uses a five year time series so statistics must be available for the past five years.

What are the main lessons to be learnt from the report?

The report is a great source for showcasing the triumph of cities in Europe. It not only shows the ongoing growth of city tourism despite the still challenging economic situation but also further portrays the exponential growth of city tourism compared to tourism on a national level. Cities really are the engine of tourism development in Europe.

One particular strength of the report is that besides the ‘premier league’ cities (mainly capitals), it also features what might be called ‘second division’ cities, receiving fewer than 1.5 million bednights per year. Economic analysts identify those smaller tourism-intense cities as having the greatest potential to grow and gain market share in the long run. The report highlights the ‘winners’ of 2013 – those cities with extraordinary growth rates – and reveals their success stories.

The European Cities Marketing Benchmarking Report not only provides global views on the industry; it is also the number one source of city tourism statistics for analysing a city against competing destinations. For cities which cannot maintain their own research department, the report is a great resource for benchmarking their performance and identifying competitive advantages.

This year, we are particularly proud of the newly introduced ‘Forecasting’ section, which provides short-term forecasts of national, international and total bednights for 2014. The forecasts are given on a monthly and yearly basis and predict another very successful year for European City tourism.

We are looking forward to 2015, when we are planning to introduce a new key performance indicator, ‘Tourism Density’. This is an indicator of the relationship between the number of inhabitants and bednights within a city. This is a very important step, since the indicator is not only based on growth, but the quality of relationships between tourists and inhabitants. We need indicators like these as a move towards smart (sustainable) tourism is essential if our cities are to remain competitive.

The ECM Benchmarking Report is available free of charge to ECM members (via the ECM Intranet) and is available for purchase for partners. The report can be ordered from the following link: