Since the beginning of the year, almost one in two European destinations has reported a double-digit increase in tourist arrivals, according to a report from the European Travel Commission. Iceland leads the way as a perfect example of this performance, with arrivals up 54 per cent during the first months of 2017.
New air routes to Iceland helped the country boost its popularity in the first months of the year. A significant increase in arrivals from Russia (+157 per cent) has largely contributed to this success.
Moreover, the expected recovery of the ruble is likely to further promote travel from Russia to the Old Continent. Arrivals from Russia were also strong in Cyprus (+122 per cent) and Turkey (+88 per cent), helping the latter limit the impact of its downward trend to -8 per cent since the beginning of the year.
Americans are also expected to head to Europe this year, with the report predicting healthy arrivals growth for 2017. Travelers from the US are likely to be drawn to Europe by a strong US dollar compared to European currencies.
Other European countries seeing strong increases in tourist arrivals include Cyprus (+26 per cent), Portugal (+25 per cent) and Malta (+23 per cent).
Current geopolitical situations and security concerns inevitably influence visitor numbers, with countries unaffected by such concerns proving particularly appealing to tourists. Two-figure growth was, for example, seen in Bulgaria (+19 per cent), Finland (+18 per cent), and Estonia (+13 per cent).