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ECM Benchmarking Report 2020-2021

European Cities Marketing (ECM), the leading network of city tourism organizations in Europe, just launched the 17th edition of the “European Cities Marketing Benchmarking Report”. The Benchmarking Report is the main information source for city tourism statistics today. Modul University Vienna is the scientific partner producing the report, which includes the latest insights about the performance of European cities. The report illustrates the structure and main trends in city tourism of 107 European cities between 2016 and 2020. 

With more than 100 pages of tables, graphs and experts‘ market reviews the report presents major developments concerning bednights (total and international), bed capacities and growth rates of European cities in light of the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the report includes detailed information about the performance of the top 9 European source markets. 

© The European Cities Marketing Benchmarking Report 2020-21, European Cities Marketing, 

Over the past five years, bednights in the ECM report’s cities have been increasing at a faster rate than those of EU 28 nations, which demonstrates the importance of city tourism. The growth rate for the ECM report‘s cities between 2015 and 2019 (Index Development) was 18.1%, while for EU 28 nations the growth in the same period was 13.7%. Further, the report provides insights into the tourism density of cities (relation bednights – inhabitants) including detailed densities according to the different seasons. Since the 13th edition, the report also features information about bed occupancies. 

The 2020 results provide evidence that city tourism was hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of total bednights decreased by 68.5% compared to the previous year. The structure of city tourism demand is dominated by international source markets, thus demand from international markets decreased even higher at 77.0% compared to 2020. As of March 2020, Europe was cut off from international source markets and long-haul markets in particular. As a result, Germany overtook the United States as the most important source market generating city tourism demand in Europe. 

On the contrary, sun & beach destinations, as well as the alpine regions and rural destinations could capitalize from the change in visitor flows. Cities with a strong inbound market such as Hamburg, Munich, or Frankfurt, managed to attract a relevant demand of national visitors. They were less affected than other international Hub-Cities in Europe which attracted mainly international visitors. A Competitive advantage prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.  

One thing is certain: city tourism has been the driver for tourism development in Europe for decades and will celebrate its comeback post COVID. 

The European Cities Marketing Benchmarking Report can be purchased in different versions. The light package including the report costs € 350. The professional package including the report and full data file costs € 690. The report (in English) can be purchased following this link. For all ECM members the report is available free of charge. 

For further information, please directly contact the ECM Head Office or visit their website to order the report: 



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