European cities reliant on travel and tourism GDP

A new World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) report reveals that Europe contributes 30 per cent to global travel and tourism GDP.

The report, which focuses on 73 major tourism city destinations worldwide, found that the three fastest growing cities in terms of GDP are all located in Europe.

The Turkish cities of Antalya and Istanbul were ranked first and second. Antalya’s direct travel and tourism GDP grew 15.7 per cent with Istanbul’s close behind at 15.5 per cent. This reflects the continued and ongoing recovery of the Turkish travel and tourism sector. This has been primarily driven by safety improvements and depreciation of its currency, both of which have made the destinations more attractive to visitors.

Moscow was third, growing 13.7 per cent last year, on the back of Russia’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup last year. International spending showed especially strong growth in Moscow, growing 20.5 per cent.

The report shows that these 73 cities account for $691 billion in direct travel and tourism GDP.

International visitor spending is usually more important to cities than it is to countries as a whole, the report states. Revenues from international visitors will in some cases pay for city infrastructure projects, the provision of public workers and services that improve the quality of life for residents.

For example, in London, international visitors spent $17.5BN last year: nearly twice as much as the operating costs of Transport for London, and near four times the amount than the total expenditure for policing and crime within the city.

The WTTC also notes that European cities are more reliant on international tourism than cities from the other regions analysed within the report. Seven out of the top 10 cities ranked for the reliance on international visitor spend were located within Europe, with Dublin and Dubrovnik both showing over 95 per cent of travel and tourism spending relying on international visitors. Additionally, Venice, Budapest, Istanbul, Prague and London are all similarly reliant on international visitor spending, with between 84 per cent to 93 per cent of spending coming from international visitors to these cities.

“European cities have been and will continue to be of critical importance to the travel and tourism sector,” said WTTC President and CEO, Gloria Guevara. “This wide-reaching report has shown the ongoing growth and contribution of European cities, and the importance the travel and tourism sector has on communities and offers further examples in areas such as best practices for sustainable growth, resilience and destination stewardship.

She continues: “Achieving sustainable growth in cities requires reaching far beyond the sector itself, and into the broader urban agenda. To drive true economic impact that can translate seamlessly into social benefits, a city must engage with all stakeholders, across the public and private sector, in order to establish the cities of the future.”

Article published 16th December 2019