UK hotels led the spending growth among their European competitors during 2010, according to data from American Express Business Insights.
While hotel spending in five European countries - the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain - grew 7% overall in 2010, the UK gave the strongest performance, with growth of 10%. Spain grew by 8%, France by 7%, and Germany and Italy by 4%.
None of the five markets have yet recovered to pre-recession levels.
Growth has been driven by tourists from outside of Europe returning to the region, increased spending in luxury hotels and an improvement in business travel. Generation Y travellers, who are in their 20s, have been particularly resilient to the economic downturn.
"This strong growth is great news in an environment where consumer confidence remains low and economic growth fragile," said Sujata Bhatia, vice-president for American Express Business Insights Europe and Asia. "This is particularly true in the UK, where international visitors are spending again, making a significant contribution to the UK's economic recovery. It will be interesting to see how heightened global interest in the UK, with the Royal Wedding, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Olympics, impacts the sector."
In 2010 the most popular holiday destination among the five countries for European and non-Europeans was France, followed by the UK. France overtook the UK to become the most popular holiday destination in 2009.
By Janet Harmer
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