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European Cities Marketing, which improves the competitiveness and performance of leading cities in Europe, presented the results of tourism in Europe through its 2014 Benchmarking report.

  • In 2013 European cities achieved an average relative growth in total bed nights of 3.5 percent.
  •  In the last five years, the average yearly international bed night growth rate for European cities was 6.2 percent, 1.9 points higher than the average yearly bed night growth rate for the 28 EU countries.
  • ECM predicts a growth of +3.6 percent in total bed nights, and +5.1 percent in international bed nights. The smaller cities of Europe have the highest opportunities for growing.

The Triumph of European Cities

The recently presented 10th edition of the European Cities Marketing Benchmarking confirms the positive growth trend of the previous years by leading a robust European tourism industry in 2013. European cities achieved an average relative change of 3.5 percent in total bed nights and 5 percent in international bed nights. Central and Eastern European cities led the forward charge with several exhibiting year-on-year total bed night growth rates above 10 percent.

Top Performing Cities

London and Paris continue to lead Europe’s city tourism industry in terms of total bed nights in 2013. Berlin, Rome, and Barcelona maintained their ranks among the top five cities with decidedly strong year-on-year bed night growth rates. The highest growth rate among the top 5 cities belongs to Berlin whose bed nights increased by 8.2 percent.

 Top 15 European city tourism destinations 2013 by bed night volumes.


  Destination Bed nights 2013 2012-13 % change
1 London 53 696 680


2 Paris 36 679 245


3 Berlin 26 942 082


4 Rome 24 160 505


5 Barcelona 16 485 074


6 Madrid 14 873 643


7 Prague 14 654 282


8 Istanbul 14 597 845


9 Vienna 13 544 798


10 Munich 12 894 504


11 Hamburg 11 603 135


12 Amsterdam 11 262 000


13 Stockholm 10 956 922


14 Milan 9 922 368


15 Dublin 9 250 320


All but three of the top-ranked 15 cities showed positive year-on-year bed night growth rates. Istanbul reversed the negative trend exhibited last year and managed to gain an impressive four places in the top rankings.

Cities have been taking the lead on the European tourism industry since five years

European cities continue to be the clear leaders of the European tourism industry. The average annual bed night growth rate for the ECM report cities was 6.2 percent – 1.9 percentage points higher than the average yearly bed night growth rate for the 28 EU countries. In the past five years, total bed nights from the key source markets grew by 22.4 percent in ECM report cities compared to 8.4 percent in the 28 EU nations.

Top source markets and new stand-outs  

Internationally-sourced bed night numbers continue to grow at a faster rate than those sourced domestically. Germany, the U.S., and the UK once again topped the list of source markets by contributing a combined 75 million bed nights to European cities. Spain and Italy maintained their status as top source markets but continued their negative growth trends exhibited in 2012. In comparison to its 14.8 percent growth in 2012, Japan showed a decrease of 5.8 percent in 2013. France maintained steady positive growth as a source market in 2013 while the Russian and Chinese markets continued to stand out with growth rates in the double digits. Since 2009, the latter two source markets have more than doubled their bed nights contributed to European cities.

In addition, although the relative size of the nine major source markets did not change much, the international bed nights from the remaining source markets have increased by 4 percent, contributing 55 percent of the ECM report cities’ International source markets –the guest mix is therefore getting more diverse.

Highest opportunities for smaller cities in 2014

For the very first time, the ECM Benchmarking Report 2014 features short-term forecasts for total and international bed nights in European Cities on an annual and monthly basis. The study predicts a total bed nights growth of +3.6 percent for 2014. When looking into the predictions in detail, it seems that also in 2014 growth will be mainly driven by international markets with an expected +5,1 percent, compared to +1.9  percent for domestic markets.

ECN 072014_INT_ECM tourism in Europe results

Compared to the leading so called ‘European Premier League’ cities like London, Paris, Berlin, Rome or Barcelona in which relative growth can hardly reach double digits any longer, the prediction provided is probably too conservative for the other medium and smaller cities, especially for those within Eastern Europe. Particularly smaller cities still have significant potential to grow in terms of bed nights, but also bed capacities and are expected to benefit most in 2014.

Produced by MODUL University Vienna, the European Cities Marketing Benchmarking Report provides the No. 1 source of city tourism statistics in Europe.

ECM reports twice a year about the current state of the tourism industry. In February, the organization provides first preliminary results and trends about the previous year; in June, the ECM Benchmarking Report is presented containing detailed analyses and benchmarks of the past five years as well as the forecast for the current year.

For the 10th time, European Cities Marketing (ECM) presented the ECM Benchmarking Report 2014 during the annual meeting and general assembly in Dresden, Germany. The report not only covers statistics portraying tourism development for 114 European cities; it is furthermore the basis for discussing major trends and developments in Europe among the member cities.

To view the report, visit www.europeancitiesmarketing.com.

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