Published on : Monday, April 3, 2017
As per the UNWTO’s tourism monitoring, Europe remains the most popular tourism region so far. The 28 EU countries recorded 499 million foreign visitors in 2016. This accounts to a growth of 4% (21 million) compared to 2015. This has been the seventh successive year in which the number of tourists in Europe was greater than before. The last fall occurred during the economic crisis in 2008/09.
However, if Norway, Switzerland and other non-Eu members are counted, the number exceeds 500 million visitors. This clearly shows that Europe receives more than 40% of the world’s international tourists. The EU is homogenous, but a traveller from the UK to Spain is registered as an international traveller. Thus, there is an enormous “transnational single market” that does not exist in large countries such as USA. But it is also important to note that Europe is very attractive to overseas visitors. Not only because of the cultural and natural treasures, but also because, among other things, the Schengen visa regime makes it easy to visit several European countries during a trip.
In spite of continuous threat of terrorism, the number of tourists to Europe continues to grow. Tourism is therefore seen by the EU as one of the pillars for economic growth and welfare in Europe. UNWTO and the EU Directorate-General for the internal market, industry and enterprise will run a joint project until February 2018, whose aim would be general promotion of tourism in the EU area, the creation of better statistical data bases and the promotion of sustainable development.