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European City Tourism 2015

  • Roland Berger and ÖHV (Austrian Hotel Association) study analyzes 45 European city destinations
  • The seven evaluation criteria are overnight stays, bed capacities, turnover, arrivals, internationality, accessibility, congress location features
  • Istanbul is number 1
  • Vienna is top for congresses but needs to catch up accessibility and value added
Travelers in and to Europe focus more and more on city destinations. From 2005 to 2015, arrivals in European hotels increased by 14 percent, in hotels in European cities by 38 percent. These are the main results of "European City Tourism 2015", the new study performed by Roland Berger and ÖHV (Austrian Hotel Association). 45 of Europe's major city destinations were examined.

"Our study confirms that the short city break continues to be attractive", Dr. Vladimir Preveden emphasizes, Managing Partner of Roland Berger Vienna. "Together with the value added by industries before and afterwards in the value chain, city tourism is one crucial factor for the economic development in Europe."

Top flight: Istanbul is number 1, Vienna among the top 5
The study clusters the analyzed European cities in three groups according to various criteria. Among those, there are the number of overnight stays per visitor and the importance as congress location. The first cluster encompasses 13 cities with more than 10 million overnight stays headed by Istanbul, Amsterdam and Paris. Vienna is number 5 in this cluster, deferring to London. "In recent years, Vienna has developed very well and become one of the European top players", Dr. Markus Gratzer, Secretary General of the Austrian Hotel Association (ÖHV), is pleased to summarize. He sees the need to catch up mainly in two areas: accessibility and value added. "To advance in the ranking, Vienna must be able to make the most of its potential: we urgently need the third airport runway and an immediate strain reduction for the hotel industry", Gratzer requires.

In the same cluster, however, Paris, Amsterdam and Prague reveal some cause for concern, with Preveden confirming: "The extremely high tourism densities as measured by overnight stays per inhabitant is not well balanced any more. This would indicate increasing friction between sustainable tourism development in these cities and the quality of life for local inhabitants."

Brussels and Dubrovnik head clusters 2 and 3
In the second cluster, there are 17 cities with between 2 and 10 million overnight stays per year – Brussels is number 1 mainly because it is a leading congress location and offers excellent accessibility by plane. Numbers 2 and 3 are Copenhagen and Zurich. Salzburg (number 8) is among the cluster-2 top 10 at least.

The third cluster encompasses 15 cities with fewer than 2 million overnight stays per year and is headed by Dubrovnik, Luxemburg and Lausanne. Dubrovnik shows the strongest growth in overnight stays. But Preveden is warning: "Dubrovnik has reached its limits of growth in tourism when looking at the size of the city. Moreover the Adriatic harbor is strained by the unsustainably high influx of cruise ship tourists." Innsbruck ranks 14th in cluster 3.

Istanbul is the surprise winner; London and Paris lead in total numbers of overnight stays
Istanbul surprisingly outperforms all competitors (cluster 1). The city on the Bosporus combines modern European standards and oriental flair, accessibility is high, the climate is pleasant. "Interestingly enough, Istanbul is among the top as to overnight stays and bed capacities", Preveden says. "On the other hand, the tourism density is very low. That means: there are still significant growth opportunities for the upcoming years."

London (57 million overnight stays) and Paris (36 million) clearly dominate overnight stays in the top cluster. At the same time, those are the two cities which grow least compared to the other ambitious tourist centers. Only after a large gap, there are following Rome (25 million overnight stays) and Berlin (24 million).
Dec 2, 2015
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