ETOA highlights need for collaborative destination marketing campaigns as multi-destination travel trends revealed at Summit

Cross-border marketing collaborations should be part of European destinations’ strategies, a report by Lyublena Dimova, Research Project Manager from the European Travel Commission has recommended.

Findings from the research paper ‘Tracking Multi-destination Travel in Europe from Long-haul Source Markets’ were reported on at the ETOA Annual Conference in October 2018 and revealed that on average, 60% of visitors from the long haul markets of China, Japan, India and the USA will combine two or more countries in Europe with 30% visiting nine cities or more in one trip.

The ETC analysed data from relevant online travel review platforms and identified country combinations, networks of city destinations and key itineraries and found that the top combination for long haul visitors was Paris and London.

Other popular itineraries around the hubs of Barcelona, which typically included historical Spanish cities such as Seville and Granada and combined them with Lisbon, Sintra, Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia in Portugal; Rome, which includes Florence and Venice but also linked to destinations in Greece. The city of Prague had popular links to Budapest, Vienna, Berlin and other German cities.

Dimova also concluded that multi-destination travel can be used as a strategy to help tackle capacity management as it enhances visibility of smaller destinations within the same itineraries as well as reducing pressure on the most popular destinations, dispersing visitors over a larger area.

Tom Jenkins CEO, ETOA said: “We are delighted to support the ETCs findings – which chime with our own knowledge – and we encourage our tourist board members to look at the findings.

“The UK is at the heart of many itineraries for long haul visitors to Europe and to retain that popularity, and despite Brexit, the UK tourist boards need to continue to collaborate with other destinations.”

In addition, the paper revealed that:

  • Europe is the largest recipient of tourists in the world with 51% of the world’s international tourist arrivals. This compares to 24% to Asia and the Pacific; 16% to the Americas and 5% to Africa and 4% to the Middle East.
  • Europe’s international visitor growth rate was faster than anywhere else in the world – and in 2017 was up 8.4% – compared to a global average of 6.7. In 2017, the Americas had the lowest growth rate of 2.9%.
  • The largest source market to Europe is the USA, with 30.5 million American visitors to Europe in 2017, compared to 12.8 million from China; 4.2 million from Japan, 2.7 million from India.
  • Between 2017-2022 the fastest rate of growth is expected to be from the Chinese market with an annual average growth predicted to be 6.6%, compared to 4.9% from the USA, 3.8% from Japan and 3.2% from India.

Multi-destination analysis

The 2018 ETC report conducted an online survey and received responses from 600 respondents from each of the US, Japan and India markets who had visited Europe in the past five years.

The majority of all long haul visitors to Europe conduct multi-destination trips with 63% of Americans, 62% of Chinese; 55% of Japanese and 61% of Indians seeing two or more countries in one trip.

Nearly all visitors see two or more cities in one visit to Europe, but the numbers of visitors seeing nine or more cities in one trip are high with 41% of Americans; 37% of Indian, 23% of Japanese and 20% of Chinese visitors seeing nine or more cities in one trip.

Sixty-nine per cent of Americans planned and organised their own trip; 12% joined a group tour organised by a travel company and 15% travelled independently but their trip had been planned and organised the whole trip.

When asked about the main reasons for combining destinations in one trip, the majority sited ‘variation’ as the key motivator, followed by saving money and differing priorities within a group.

For those who just stay in one destination, dining is a priority, with shopping coming a close second. This behaviour changes dramatically for those who combine destinations and ‘experiencing the local lifestyle’ – visiting museums, outdoor activities, attending events, and sightseeing become the main activities for visitors.