Tourists are heading back to Europe

Security fears after attacks on Paris and in Nice dampened tourists' appetite for France. Photo / Getty Images
Security fears after attacks on Paris and in Nice dampened tourists' appetite for France. Photo / Getty Images

Tourists are heading back to Europe, and the recovery is showing up in everything from rising hotel bookings to tax-free shopping and air traffic, leading to a brighter earnings outlook for travel and leisure companies.

A rebound in emerging markets is bringing visitors from countries like China, Brazil and Russia to continental Europe, while a weaker pound since Britain voted to leave the European Union has boosted UK tourism. And despite the sagging pound, travel from the UK also remains healthy, an HSBC survey showed.

"International travel both to and from emerging markets has been growing, while average spend per trip has also been increasing. For hotels, the revenue per available room has improved in Europe and the UK," said Jeff Meys, head of optimised portfolio strategies at NN Investment Partners.

Security fears after attacks on Paris in January and November 2015 and in Nice the following July dampened tourists' appetite for France. That cost French hotels an estimated US$675 million ($975 million) in lost revenue over 2016, the research firm MKG said in January.

However France saw tourist numbers grow in the fourth quarter, figures from the national statistics agency showed, indicating a return to health.

The improvement in travel was apparent in the latest earnings at companies such as Spain's Amadeus, which provides booking systems for airlines, and Eurostar operator Groupe Eurotunnel.

Merlin Entertainments, which runs London's Madame Tussauds waxworks and more than 100 other attractions, said earlier this month a weak pound was drawing tourists back to London, reporting a jump in visitors from the EU in November and December.

The pound has fallen 11 per cent against the euro and 17 per cent against the US dollar since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June.

Luxury goods makers Prada, LVMH and Hugo Boss also cited higher tourist spending and increased inflows from Asia in their results.

- AAP

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