Vi­enna –

Business Traveler (USA) - - SPECIAL REPORT -

The Park Hy­att Vi­enna was the sev­enth Park Hy­att prop­erty in Europe 50 ho­tels un­der the St. Regis, W Ho­tels and Lux­ury Col­lec­tion brands,”says Asad Ahmed, vice pres­i­dent of sales, EAME di­vi­sion for Star­wood Ho­tels & Re­sorts.

Build­ing on its mix of mid to up­scale and lux­ury brands, Star­wood opened The St. Regis Venice San Cle­mente Palace in June, the El­e­ment Frankfurt Air­port in Au­gust, and the Aloft Liver­pool in Oc­to­ber. In De­cem­ber it will open the Ex­cel­sior Ho­tel Gal­lia, A Lux­ury Col­lec­tion Ho­tel, in Mi­lan and in 2015, the Aloft Stuttgart, Aloft Mu­nich, and the W Am­s­ter­dam.

“After the eco­nomic slow­down we are op­ti­mistic about im­prov­ing trends as oc­cu­pan­cies con­tinue to rise – reach­ing peak lev­els across Europe – which means rates should grow de­spite still-frag­ile Euro­pean economies,”Ahmed adds. “RevPAR grew at 2 per­cent, with Italy, Spain and Greece as high­lights.”

World hote­lier AC­COR, spe­cial­iz­ing in bud­get and mid-to-up­scale prop­er­ties, is one of Europe’s largest op­er­a­tors with 2,600 ho­tels and 283,000 rooms. Ac­cor re­ports that it has 120 ho­tels (17,700 rooms) in the pipe­line. As of Au­gust 2013 it had opened 62 ho­tels for a to­tal of 90 ho­tels that were planned for the full year.

The Grand Tours

Of course all this pos­i­tive growth hinges on the pro­jec­tions that an im­prov­ing econ­omy will put more“heads in the beds”in th­ese new prop­er­ties. How­ever, lots of those heads will be on the necks of tourists with cam­eras hang­ing round them. While a strong leisure travel mar­ket is good news for hote­liers, it can be bad news for high­fre­quency business trav­el­ers, es­pe­cially in iconic ci­ties like London, Paris and Rome. De­pend­ing on what time of the year and lo­cale, the tourism seg­ment drives de­mand and hence, rates.

And for right now, tourism growth in Europe is ex­pected to con­tinue its pos­i­tive track. A re­cent study con­ducted by the Euro­pean Travel Com­mis­sion mea­sured the mar­ket im­pact of for­eign tourists in Europe from var­i­ous Euro­pean and non-Euro­pean source mar­kets. The study showed that in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals to Europe grew by 5.4 per­cent in 2013. This marks the fourth con­sec­u­tive year of pos­i­tive growth. In­ter­est­ingly, nearly 50 per­cent of all in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals in Europe came from only eight coun­tries, ac­cord­ing to the ETC re­port – and the top six on the list were within the Euro­pean com­mu­nity.

As in prior years, Ger­many was the largest source mar­ket, con­tribut­ing to 14 per­cent of all in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals in Europe, putting it ahead of the UK at nine per­cent. With a mar­ket share of six per­cent, Rus­sia is the third largest source of in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals. France holds fourth place, ahead of the Nether­lands, and Italy in sixth place. The sev­enth po­si­tion is held by the US, the first ex­tra-Euro­pean mar­ket, whose share of in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals grew sig­nif­i­cantly in 2013. China’s share of in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals in Europe was only 1.3 per­cent, but its mar­ket grew by an im­pres­sive 23 per­cent. In the medium and long term, China’s num­ber of ar­rivals is ex­pected to grow. As for the Euro­pean out­look over­all, the ETC study forecasts that for the pe­riod 2013 to 2016 in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals to Europe will grow by some 3.8 per­cent.

“Europe’s suc­cess as a travel des­ti­na­tion is set to con­tinue,”ac­cord­ing to Dr. Martin Buck, di­rec­tor of Travel & Lo­gis­tics at Messe Berlin. “It is an at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion that fas­ci­nates Euro­peans and over­seas vis­i­tors alike.” BT

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