Fastest-growing tourist hotspots in Europe
Iceland and Slovakia are among the fastest-growing tourist destinations in Europe for foreign tourists this year.
According to the latest report out of the European Travel Commission, Iceland experienced an impressive 30 % spike in foreign arrivals in the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period last year.
Slovakia also saw a 20 % increase in international visitors this spring.
Overall, growth was strongest in smaller European regions such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe.
Montenegro, Latvia, and Croatia, for example, each recorded a 9 % growth, while visitor growth in Hungary and Poland also increased about 7 %.
At the other end of the spectrum, the banking crisis in Cyprus earlier this year also dealt the country’s tourism industry a major blow, as visitor arrivals plummeted -12 %.
Among the major European destinations, Germany and Spain recorded a “healthy” 4 %increase.
Meanwhile, editors at Lonely Planet also named Iceland -- or rather northern Iceland -- one of their top European destination picks for 2013 earlier this summer, for the country’s rich natural landscape including dramatic geysers, lava fields and towering waterfalls.
Hungary and Croatia also made Lonely Planet`s top 10 list.