Europe’s fastest growing travel destinations for 2017, so far

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Northern Lights over Kirkjufell Mountain in Iceland. Image: Neutronman/Istock.com via AFP Relaxnews

Iceland is Europe’s fastest growing travel destination of 2017 so far, marking a six-year streak that shows no sign of slowing.

In the latest edition of the European Travel Commission’s 2017 travel and trends report, Iceland recorded a 56 percent spike in visits in the first four months of the year compared to the same period of 2016.

The Nordic nation has been the top-performing European growth destination since 2012, with movies and shows like “Game of Thrones”, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “Interstellar” shining the spotlight on the country and inspiring wanderlust in intrepid travelers.

Clever and aggressive tourism marketing campaigns have also helped sell the country on its otherworldly landscape, unique natural surroundings and friendly Icelanders in recent years.

Over the last five years, growth per annum has averaged 25 percent to the country, with 2016 recording a whopping 40 percent growth.

But analysts expect the streak to slow in the coming years, owing to accommodation capacity and other infrastructure constraints, with the said sectors having a hard time keeping up with the tourism boom.

Blue Lagoon. Image: Neutronman/Istock.com via AFP Relaxnews

Meanwhile, following a sizable gap, Montenegro is the second fastest-growing destination in Europe for 2017 so far, posting a 25 percent growth compared to last year.

Rounding out the top five spots are Malta, Finland and Cyprus.

The report also notes that Finland has become especially interesting for Chinese travelers, with a sizable number of arrivals from China this year. A similar trend is also seen for Estonia.

Improved air connectivity is credited with helping Portugal, Serbia and Croatia boost their arrivals numbers, while Croatia and Bulgaria also saw a notable increase in visitors from the United Kingdom.

Here are the top 10 fastest growing destinations in Europe, as of this writing, this year:
1. Iceland
2. Montenegro
3. Malta
4. Finland
5. Cyprus
6. Bulgaria
7. Portugal
8. Serbia
9. Croatia
10. Spain
JB

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