San Marino becomes Europe’s fastest growing tourism destination

78,000 people visited the tiny country last year, 31.1% more than in 2016

Travellers in Europe seem to have found a new destination for exploration. Located on the northeastern side of the Italian Peninsula, the enclaved microstate of San Marino has come to the attention of holidaymakers for its picturesque and untouched heritage.

More than 78,000 people visited San Marino last year making it Europe's fastest growing tourism destination — Zhukov Oleg / Shutterstock San Marino becomes Europe's fastest growing tourism destination
More than 78,000 people visited San Marino last year making it Europe’s fastest growing tourism destination — Zhukov Oleg / Shutterstock

While the local authorities register only around 33,500 inhabitants, according to a study published by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), more than 78,000 people visited the country in 2017, which is 31.1 per cent more than in the previous year.

Such growth makes the state the fastest growing tourist destination out of all countries in Europe, despite being the fifth smallest country in the world.

The last remaining fully independent Italian city state has much to offer. While the historic city of San Marino City is a Unesco World Heritage site, the state is a perfect spot for anyone interested in medieval history. Some of the citadels scattered around the town date back to the 11th century.

With an increase of 27.9 per cent in visitor numbers, Georgia is the second fastest growing destination —Shutterstock San Marino becomes Europe's fastest growing tourism destination
With an increase of 27.9 per cent in visitor numbers, Georgia is the second fastest growing destination — Shutterstock

However, San Marino is not the only European state that has experienced a growth in tourism. The second fastest growing destination happens to be Georgia with its capital, Tbilisi, being one of the most trending hot spots. Nearly 3.5 million people visited the country in 2017, 27.9 per cent more than in the previous year.

Thanks to the amelioration of conditions for tourists, Turkey managed to attract 24.1 per cent more travellers than in 2016. The country now shares the third position in tourism growth with Iceland, which experienced an increase of 24.1 per cent as well.

Another European country with a high influx of tourists in 2017 according to UNWTO was the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia.

Europe itself saw an increase in attention, with an overall increase in tourism in 2017 of 7.8 per cent for the whole continent.

5 European countries with fastest growing tourism

  1. San Marino — 31.1 per cent
  2. Georgia — 27.9 per cent
  3. Iceland — 24.1 per cent
  4. Turkey — 24.1 per cent
  5. FYR Macedonia — 23.5 per cent