The European Cities Marketing (ECM) Benchmarking Report indicates a healthy and growing European tourism industry. Initial figures show European city tourism supported by a more diversified international tourist market.

ECM BENCHMARK - Top TenDespite the stagnating growth of traditional source markets, European city tourism is thriving. Astonishing increases in emerging source market bednights have helped European cities to cope with the lack of growth in traditional source markets. Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States maintained leading positions as source markets in 2012 in terms of international bednights in Europe. The UK and USA source markets show slight increases over 2011, and Germany shows slight negative growth as a source market for international tourist bednights. Spain and Italy, two additional traditional source markets for European tourism, show more notable negative growth trends relative to 2011, likely due to economic crisis. Emerging markets China and Russia show staggering positive growth as source markets with bednight increases over 2011 at 28.5% and 20.4%, respectively. The president of ECM, Dieter Hardt-Stremayr, commented on this trend: ECM BENCHMARK - Source Market Growth“Bednight numbers representing tourists from BRIC markets such as Russia and China grew tremendously over the previous year, proving once again the importance and potential of these countries as strong source markets for the European tourism industry.” Strong growth in these emerging source markets points to an ever-diversifying market to which European cities will need to cater.

With the exception of Madrid, all cities in the top ten in terms of international tourist bednights experienced positive growth over the previous year; Madrid experienced a decline in international tourist bednights of 7.2% in relation to 2011. Although showing relatively modest growth relative to 2011, London claimed the highest number of international tourist bednights, followed by Paris and Rome with similarly reserved, but positive, growth rates. Berlin and Budapest showed the strongest international bednight growth over the previous year at +14.5% and +9.4%, respectively.ECM BENCHMARK - Main Source Markets

These figures are based on data from an initial 58 European cities; the full ECM Benchmarking Report to be release in June 2013 will include data of more than 100 cities. For further information regarding the Benchmarking Report, please visit www.europeancitiesmarketing.com

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A long-time meetings industry addict, Gorazd is the Founder and owner of marketing and event agency Toleranca Marketing. He has many years of experience in planning, preparing and carrying out large international meetings and exhibitions. As the founder of the "Power to the Meetings" methodology, he still firmly believes in the power of live events and human to human communication. He is also the author of numerous articles and editor-in-chief of the meetings industry magazine Kongres Magazine.