European city tourism climbs

European city tourism is growing faster than any other area of the European economy, according to European Cities Marketing (‘ECM’), the association that represents more than one hundred European cities, tourist boards and convention bureaus. 

The city break boom started in 2000, three years after a number of low-cost airlines opened new routes across Europe, causing the city break market to grow at unprecedented levels, and with a rise in the average length of stay for a city break. The key European destinations - Berlin, Barcelona and Prague - have collectively seen an annualised increase of 550,000 room nights per annum. Ease of access and heavy hitting marketing campaigns have helped these cities to establish their leading position in Europe’s city break market.

Apart from the more traditional cities and towns, the city break boom has benefited other destinations on the Baltic and Adriatic Seas along with less prolific destinations in central Europe. Emerging destinations that saw a dramatic increase in overnight stays (2000-2005) include Dubrovnik (Croatia) +130%, Tallinn (Estonia) +92%, Ljubljana (Slovenia) +71%, Zagreb (Croatia) +64%, Valencia (Spain) +60%, Turin (Italy) +50%, Bratislava (Slovakia) +46%. (Source: ECM/European Cities Tourism Report 2006/7)

Given the huge growth in the city break market sector, Reed Travel Exhibitions is, for the second consecutive year, organising the City Break exhibition. This unique business forum allows city and regional tourist boards and suppliers of city breaks to meet specialist operators in a commercial environment during three days of pre-scheduled appointments.

Mark Walsh, Exhibition Director of City Break, said: “We have had a fantastic response from suppliers with a number of key city tourist boards already signed up to exhibit, including London, Brussels, Vienna and Dublin, as well as a huge variety of private sector companies including city hotels, attractions and Destination Management Companies from over 80 European cities.


We are aiming to recruit 180 pre-qualified hosted buyers and already have buyers registered from countries such as China, France, Germany, Italy, USA, Russia and Singapore”.

City Break 2007 is sponsored by ECM and will be held prior to their annual summer conference which takes place from 14th-15th June in Athens, Greece.

City Break-ing news:

Northern Europe, excluding the Baltic States, has been the strongest sub-regional performer (+6.0%) in Europe. Finland, Ireland and the UK have led the growth for the sub-region. Other destinations achieving growth rates in 2006 well above the average were Germany - thanks largely to its hosting of the FIFA World Cup - the Netherlands and Switzerland. (Source: ITB Berlin) 

Online travel booking will continue to increase in 2007, with 36% of Europeans now booking their holidays online, as against 23% in 2004. The British are among the most enthusiastic online travellers, with 50% of all outbound trips now booked through the internet - nearly double the 27% German share. (Source IPK International’s European Travel Monitor)

Markets with major growth rates for the European city tourism business in 2000-2005: Spain +57%, France +37%, United Kingdom +28%, Italy +23% and Germany +18%. (Source: ECM/ European Cities Tourism Report 2006/7)