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On the whole, the travel recovery, for all purposes, continued in Europe for most of this year. However, by the end of 2011 it became clear that the rate of expansion was slowing. According to the European Travel Commission’s Trends & Prospects Quarterly Report for Q3, visits, nights, and hotel occupancy data told a consistent story of strong performance that was tapering off as the year progresses. Visits, for all purposes including business, grew approximately 6 percent through the first half of the year. By the end of 2011, the ETC expected that international visits to Europe would have surpassed records set in 2008.

European airlines also enjoyed a successful year. Data from the Association of European Airlines show that European airlines posted robust RPK growth even in the weeks outside those compared to the air space closures of April 2010. Since April, RPK growth was relatively stronger than the weeks prior to April. With only one exception, weekly growth rates were above 6 percent and averaged a rate of nearly 8 percent over this period.

The European Travel Commission’s Report also cites data from STR Global indicating that for the year through August 2011, pan-­‐European hotel occupancy was 3.7 percent higher than the year before, including some slowdown from the first part of the year. Slowing has been most noticeable in Western Europe, but occupancy remains higher than in 2010 for all countries in the region. Average Daily Rate also remains higher than in 2010 for the year to August 2011, for all countries except the Czech Republic and Hungary.

Focusing on our own industry, the continuing importance of Europe as a destination for international association conferences may be seen from the following two tables of the most recent data published by the Union of International Associations. They show that 6 of the top 10 national destinations for international meetings were European countries; and 7 out of the top 10 cities were located in the continent of Europe.



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