Iceland saw a 30 per cent growth in tourist arrivals in the first eight months of 2017. ― AFP picIceland saw a 30 per cent growth in tourist arrivals in the first eight months of 2017. ― AFP picPARIS, Nov 16 — International tourist arrivals to Europe grew 8 per cent in the first eight months of the year compared to the same period in 2016, according to a report from the European Travel Commission. 

Healthy growth is good news for Europe’s tourism industry, which has suffered from the effects of several acts of terrorism in recent months and years. In fact, 32 of 34 European destinations covered by the report saw increases in tourist arrivals.

Since the scope of the report extends to the wider geographical area, Iceland once again leads the way in Europe’s tourism sector. With arrivals up 30 per cent, Iceland’s tourism boom continues, confirming the country as a major travel trend. Turkey is also tempting back tourists, with international visitors up 26 per cent. Similarly, Belgium saw healthy 12 per cent growth, bouncing back after the Brussels attacks in March 2016.

Even Spain — which suffered a terrorist attack in Barcelona last August —saw growth of 10 per cent in tourist arrivals.

Plus, upcoming destinations in Southern Europe are carving out a place in the market, such as Slovenia (+19 per cent), Serbia (+19 per cent), not to mention Malta (+17 per cent) and Cyprus (+15 per cent).

The report points to the return of Russian tourists to Europe as one explanation for this healthy performance. Chinese visitors were also up an estimated +17 per cent in 2017. — AFP-Relaxnews

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