Prague ranks fifth for international tourism in Europe

A new ranking shows the Czech capital beating Vienna and Amsterdam

Prague ranked seventh among European cities for tourism in 2016, in terms of overnight stays (bednights), and in fifth place for tourism by international tourists, according to a ranking by the nonprofit organization European Cities Marketing.

Prague in 2016 saw an increase of 4.8 percent in bednights over the previous year, reaching a total of 16.7 million. For international tourists Prague saw an increase of 3.8 percent to 14.9 million bednights.

London was in the lead for both overnight stays and overnight stays for foreigners. Paris, Rome and Barcelona also beat Prague in both categories. Prague, however beat Vienna and Amsterdam in both categories.

In overnight stays by international tourists, Prague also beat Berlin and Madrid, though those two cites were ahead in overall numbers counting domestic tourism.

For international tourism. the top 10 cities in terms of bednights stayed the same as the previous year, with London, Paris, and Berlin at the top of the list. “Italy, Russia, and Japan continue to decrease as source markets, while the Chinese market reached a stable growth of 2.2 percent as of this year,” the European Cities Marketing report stated.

“The top performing cities in terms of total number of bednights did not change in comparison to the previous year, except that Amsterdam replaced Stockholm in the top 10 list,” the report stated.

For the first time in recent years, domestic bednights grew more than international bednights, according to the report.

On average there was a 3.8 percent growth in city tourism, with the domestic market increasing by 6.0 percent and the international market by 2.3 percent. Most cities did see an increase, but Paris saw a significant drop, falling 9.5 percent in overall bednights and 12.9 percent in bednights by international tourists.

“We saw another exceptionally successful year for city tourism in Europe, despite major challenges arising. The terrorist attacks in Europe, and particularly in Paris, show the volatility, importance and resilience of tourism. Overseas markets such as China or Japan are particularly sensitive towards perceived risk which resulted in negative performance in 2016. However, since the last quarter of 2016 city tourism in Europe is back on track: Visitor numbers are strongly and steadily recovering for Paris as well as for source markets which were decreasing for years, such as Russia,” ECM President Ignasi de Delàs said in a press release.

“City tourism in Europe in 2016 was 'tossed by the waves but does not sink,' as European Cities remain the most attractive tourism destinations for visitors from all over the world and showed resilience and courage against terrorism,” he added.

The main source markets of the US (11 percent), Germany (9 percent), and the UK (9 percent) make up approximately 30 percent of the source markets for European cities. The Chinese market, which was the fastest growing market in Europe, continued its growth with 2.2 percent in 2016, according to the report.

Italy (-4.3 percent), Japan (-11.8 percent), and Russia (-12.4 percent) continued their decrease, which makes up 9 percent of the total foreign market in European cities.

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