New Roland Berger study benchmarks European cities’ success in tourism and identifies trends in tourism developments

  • New Roland Berger study “European City Tourism 2015” analyzes 45 of Europe’s major city destinations
  • Three cluster research method ensures fair comparison
  • Istanbul combines modern European standards with Asian flair, high accessibility and favorable climate to push traditional front-runners off top slot
  • City tourism continues to outperform the economy as a whole
  • Evaluation model favors growth-oriented cities

Munich/Vienna, 7-12-2015 — /EuropaWire/ — Over the last few years the short city break has been able to establish itself as the preferred holiday of choice in Europe. The new Roland Berger study “European City Tourism 2015”, examining 45 major European cities benchmarks European cities’ success in tourism and identifies trends in tourism developments. The new report confirms that the upward trend remains unabated and that tourism as a whole continues to significantly outperform European economies with city tourism performing best. The new study has also revealed an unexpected winner for 2015, namely the Turkish capital Istanbul.

Istanbul, Brussels and Dubrovnik head their respective clusters

In comparison to the first survey conducted by Roland Berger in 2011, which concentrated on the 24 European capitals, the 2015 study divided the 45 cities under scrutiny into 3 clear cluster groupings. The first cluster encompassed 13 cities with more than 10 million overnight stays, the second, 17 cities with between 2 and 10 million overnight stays and the third, 15 cities with fewer than 2 million overnight stays. Istanbul, Amsterdam, Paris, London and Vienna took the top five places in the first cluster. Worthy of note too was Berlin, which continues to show strong growth in overnight stays. Brussels, Copenhagen and Zurich followed suit in the second cluster with Dubrovnik, Luxemburg and Lausanne respectively taking the top three places in the third and final cluster. The evaluation model used by the study team also favored those cities demonstrating clear growth in the categories overnight stays and bed capacities as well as measuring the received revenue per available room. Vladimir Preveden, Partner at Roland Berger and author of the study says, “After our first study conducted in 2011, Istanbul has experienced dramatic levels of growth in two key areas, namely in the increase in overnight stays as well as in the growth of bed capacities.” The very high tourism densities as measured by overnight stays per inhabitant with regard to Paris, Amsterdam and Prague reveal however some cause for concern, with author Preveden confirming, “This would indicate increasing friction between sustainable tourism development in these cities and the quality of life for local inhabitants.” The city with the second highest tourism density, Amsterdam, differs from Paris in that it continues to experience significant growth in both overnight stays and bed capacities. All in all however, Amsterdam put in a well-rounded, harmonized performance across all the relevant tourism criteria.

London and Paris continue to dominate overnight stays and flight accessibility

The British and French capitals continue to lead the top cluster in terms of the total number of overnight stays in 2014. The French capital demonstrated a high level of flight accessibility (only being surpassed by London) and high figures for value creation as measured by the achieved revenue per available room – due in part to the continued popularity of Paris as the leading congress location among the first cluster cities. The same factor contributed as well to Brussels’ success at the head of the second cluster. Excellent accessibility by plane and strong growth in bed capacity were also major contributory factors. In the third cluster, Dubrovnik featured the strongest growth in overnight stays. Study author Preveden is quick, however to voice a word of warning concerning the historical Adriatic port, “Dubrovnik has reached its limits of growth in tourism when looking at the size of the city (as indicated by the very high tourism density), and considering that ongoing growth is being driven by the unsustainably high influx of cruise ship tourists.”

Tourism remains the engine of economic growth

While the GDP recovery between 2005 and 2014 remained relatively modest at 5%, overnight stays in the cities documented in the report jumped by 38% during the same time frame, confirming in the words of author Preveden that, “city tourism development, is clearly outperforming industry and, if managed well, remains a guarantor of continuous growth”.

Summing up, Vladimir Preveden sees not only a positive performance for the city on the Bosporus but also considerable potential for the its future, “It is remarkable that Istanbul has succeeded in becoming a leader in both growth of overnight stays and bed capacities among those cities analyzed, while the tourism density as measured by overnight stays per inhabitant is very low, indicating that there is still significant room to grow over the next decade. Istanbul successfully combines modern European standards with Asian flair, high accessibility and a favorable climate.”

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SOURCE: Roland Berger GmbH

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