Travel & Tourism Intelligence Center (TTIC) data shows that London will remain Europe’s top seasonal destination in 2014.
According to TTIC, London dominates the Christmas holiday market with an estimate 6.4 percent increase in terminal and transit passengers using London’s airport during December this year. This proves to be a continuing trend for London, as over 10 million passengers passed through the city’s airports in December 2013, an increase of over 4.2 percent on the 2012 figures.
Gillian Kennedy, analyst at TTIC, says: “The European travel market has become increasingly competitive during the winter months. Established holiday favourites like Paris and London are threatened by the rising popularity of new destinations such as Berlin and Vienna, which offer seasonal fair such as Christmas markets with a traditional continental twist.”
Nevertheless, the story this year for European travel trends at Christmas is all about London, with 46 percent of visitors to London stating that their trip is for holiday purposes. This is not surprising, as the United Kingdom’s capital offers retail shoppers one of the most diversified shopping markets in Europe with luxury brands such as Harrods, Fortnum and Mason and Liberty drawing in high income earners from abroad.
Visit Britain, the official tourist board of the UK, reports that Chinese and Middle Eastern nationals were the highest spenders in the first 10 months of this year, with China representing 25 percent of total spend, followed by Kuwait with 8 percent and Saudi Arabia with 7 percent. Although TTIC data shows that Britain as a whole has witnessed a decline in Russian tourists, down by 26 percent this year so far, Christmas tourism flows remain positive especially for the capital. Kennedy adds: “It looks like London is to remain the major Christmas destination, with retail leading the way in revitalising the capital’s tourism industry after the weaknesses incurred during the 2009 global downturn.”