Central and Eastern Europe is becoming increasingly popular for visitors. According to data from the UN World Tourism Organisation, more than half of the fastest growing visitor destinations in Europe are found in the eastern half of the continent, with Georgia leading the way in the region. Tourist numbers in the Caucasus nation jumped by a whopping 27.9 per cent in 2017, with traditional Georgian cuisine, ultra-cool hotels, and the buzzing Tbilisi nightlife scene the main attractions.
Macedonia – sixth overall – saw emerging Europe’s second highest level of growth, at 23.5 per cent, with Azerbaijan close behind, registering growth of 20 per cent.
Once Europe’s least-visited nation, the Republic of Moldova has finally made an entrance on the tourism map, with visitors attracted to its vineyards and increasingly well-known wine scene. Growth was 19.6 per cent in 2017, albeit from a low base.
“The country has some of the best up-and-coming vineyards on the continent, including a vineyard that sits on top of 125 miles of underground cellar tunnels – the largest quality wine collection in the world,” Darshika Jones, North American director of tour operator Intrepid Travel told Bloomberg.
Bosnia and Herzegovina notched record growth of 18.66 per cent in 2017, while back in the Caucasus, Armenia was just behind – in 10th place globally – with a growth rate of 18.65 per cent.