Long-haul arrivals in Europe still grew steadily during Q2 2018 balancing the decrease of intra-European arrivals

The latest results from the Air Travellers’ Traffic Barometer*, produced by European Cities Marketing and ForwardKeys, highlighted that the good growth of long-haul arrivals in Europe balances the decrease of intra-European arrivals. This tendency will continue over time with forward bookings for Q3 2018 following the same trend.

International arrivals in Europe 1 April – 30 June 2018 (% Var vs Prev year)

Long haul arrivals increased by 8.4% in Q2 2018 compared to Q2 2017

Long-haul arrivals experienced an increase of 8.4%, with Asia & Oceania, Africa, and Central & South America maintaining healthy growth rates above 10%. However, intra-European travel showed a poor performance with a decrease of 4.1%. This resulted in a moderate growth of 1.5% in total international arrivals in Europe during Q2.

Leisure travellers’ segment is still growing

The traveller profile for long-haul arrivals maintained a growing leisure-related behaviour. This was indicated as segments typically associated with leisure travel grew the most: family size of 3-5 pax and 6 or more pax groups, with medium lengths of stays (6 to 21 nights), and longer lead times of more than 120 days.

London and Paris maintained their predominance as the top 2 destinations for long haul travellers

Long haul travellers are still attracted the most by London (17% share) and Paris (14% share). Rome was the top growing destination in terms of share (9% share), increasing by 2 percentage points from last quarter, while Istanbul decreased by 3 points (6% share) during the second quarter. The top 10 list is welcoming Zurich for the first time this year.

Top growing destinations are spread all over Europe

Compared to the Q1 2018 barometer, the growth for Istanbul has slowed down. Although it is still the leader in terms of the increase in visitor arrivals (+37.2%), Istanbul is followed closely by Tallinn (+30.3%) and Dubrovnik (+27.9%) for Q2 2018. New cities to this list, when compared to last quarter, include the Swiss destinations Zurich (+11.2%) and Geneva. The latter, with a positive 20.5% variation, made it to the fourth place in the top 10. The recent depreciation of the Swiss Franc, making Switzerland a more affordable destination, may have encouraged this growth.

Forward bookings for the third quarter follow a similar trend as Q2 2018

Although bookings for intra-European keep seeing a decline of 5.1%, long-haul arrivals, ahead by 8.3%, are still making up for this, and total international arrivals are ahead by 1.7%. London (18% share) and Paris (13% share) are still the preferred destinations, followed by Rome (10% share), representing together more than a third of arrivals in Europe. Istanbul (+31.1%), Tallinn (+34.4%) and Dubrovnik (+24.1%) continue their long reign as the top 3 growing European destinations also for Q3.

All ECM members have exclusive access to the complete European Cities Marketing-ForwardKeys Air Travellers’ Traffic Barometer with all the graphs and analysis.


*This analyse is based on Air Reservation Data propriety of ForwardKeys® as of 30th June 2018. Perimeter: Includes air reservations made by passengers arriving in Europe and staying at least one night in destination, therefore excluding: “Transits”, “Day trips”, “One-way trips” and “Returns”.
Arrival period: 1 April – 30 June 2018 vs. 1 April – 30 June 2017.
Booking situation for next quarter: 1 July – 30 September 2018 vs. 1 July – 30 September 2017 according to bookings issued as of 30 June 2018 and as of 30 June 2017.




*European Cities Marketing is a non-profit organisation improving 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 members from more than 110 major cities in 38 countries.

For more information and pictures, please contact:
Flavie Baudot, press@europeancitiesmarketing.com, +33 380 56 02 00


*ForwardKeys.com is a service of Forward Data S.L, a Market Research and Consulting Company registered in Spain. ForwardKeys is a Business Intelligence service bringing a new approach to operational traveller data intelligence for Hotels Chains, Tourism boards and Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) leveraging non confidential Air reservation information. ForwardKeys provides to:
– DMOs and Tourism Boards with travellers’ trends information and means to monitor and measure the impact of their marketing efforts to drive more business to their destination.
 Hotel chains with ways to quantify future demand and anticipate market trends to optimize sales, marketing and revenue management efforts, using traveller’s reservation, source market, arrival, return date and future travel information.

Contact information
Laurens van den Oever, press@forwardkeys.com