European tourism remains strong,continued attraction for its destinations.
European tourism remains on track for a strong year after experiencing impressive growth over the summer.
According to a new report from the European Travel Commission, international tourist arrivals to Europe grew 8 percent in the first eight months of 2017 compared to the same period last year.
Additionally, 32 of 34 destinations across the region saw tourist arrivals increase over that time. Half of those places even recorded double-digit growth.
Iceland's tourism boom has cooled slightly but continued thus far, with the country reporting a 30 percent rise in international visitors over the first two-thirds of the year compared to the same eight-month period in 2016.
Meanwhile, a surge in Russian visitors has helped Turkey rebound impressively. The destination posted a 26 percent rise in international arrivals over the first eight months of 2017. The figure was spurred by a whopping 800 percent boost from the Russian market after debilitating travel restrictions were lifted.
Other notable countries that have experienced double-digit growth include Slovenia (19 percent), Serbia (19 percent), Malta (17 percent), Cyprus (15 percent), Belgium (12 percent) and Spain (10 percent).
Despite Brexit and the devalued pound, more than three out of four European destinations saw growth from the all-important U.K. market over the first eight months of 2017.
China (17 percent), the U.S. (14 percent) and India (14 percent) have also been key markets for the region to this point, the commission points out.
"European tourism demand is set on an upward trajectory. This momentum is expected to mark the eighth consecutive year of growth despite safety and geopolitical challenges," said the European Travel Commission's executive director, Eduardo Santander in a statement. "To sustain growth tourism stakeholders need to unite efforts and develop initiatives to strengthen the European tourism industry."
Like the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine, Conde Nast travelers' select their top travel picks annually.
The publication’s Readers' Choice Awards 2017 for The World's Best Cruise Lines are once again telling.
A total of 10 to 14 cruise brands are listed per category: Large Ships (more than 2,500 passengers), Medium Ships (500 to 2,000 passengers), Small Ships (less than 500 passengers) and River Ships. Some lines qualify for multiple groupings but often rank highest in the one they are most known for.
Let’s first look at the results for Large Ships. Proving family travel continues to be a popular segment, Disney Cruise Line took the top spot thanks to its larger Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Just behind it came Cunard Line for its one-of-a-kind Queen Mary 2 ocean liner. Princess Cruises and MSC Cruises are also family friendly in third and fourth place, respectively.
Next to follow are two competing premium lines: Holland America Line at five, and Celebrity Cruises at six. The latter’s corporate cousin, Royal Caribbean International is ranked just below. The international brands of P&O Cruises (British) and Costa Cruises (Italian) come in at eight and nine, respectively. Rounding out the list of ten is Norwegian Cruise Line, another mainstream line geared towards parents and children.
Surprisingly not placing at all with Conde Nast readers, in this or any other category, is Carnival Cruise Line, though the lists here do begin to lean more towards upscale and luxury brands.
Leading the Medium Ships category is Crystal Cruises followed by Regent Seven Seas Cruises and then Viking Ocean Cruises—all considered luxurious. Even Cunard Line again—considering its Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria—in fourth offers luxury accommodations. In fifth is Oceania Cruises, an upmarket example, and then Disney Cruise Line makes another showing at six due to its Disney Magic and Disney Wonder.
Back to luxury is Seabourn at seven and Silversea Cruises at eight. Premium Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Celebrity Cruises infill nine, ten and eleven, respectively, before foreign P&O Cruises ends the list at twelve.
Always an eclectic list is the Small Ships, beginning once more with Seabourn first and Crystal Cruises second.
In more of a niche of its own is Windstar Cruises at third, sailing a number of former Seabourn ships. Luxury line Regent Seven Seas Cruises again comes in at four ahead of other small but respected players—fifth Paul Gauguin Cruises and sixth SeaDream Yacht Club.
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