Albania enters the top three trending travel destinations, according to Mastercard

We’re thrilled to share that Albania is ranked among the top 3 trending travel destinations, according to the latest global report from client Mastercard. Through March 2024, market-wide consumer spending on travel is robust with significant increases in passenger traffic, according to the latest global report from the Mastercard Economics Institute (MEI).  “Travel Trends 2024” provides comprehensive insights into the evolving landscape of the travel industry across 74 markets, including Europe.


Despite fluctuating exchange rates and varying levels of affordability, the desire to travel remains stronger than ever. In 2024 the travel sector is flourishing, with nine out of the last 10 record-setting spending days in the global cruise and airline industry occurring this year. Further, European travelers are also extending their trips by two extra days compared to pre-pandemic.


Europe is a top destination for travellers, receiving more than 50% of international tourist arrivals, annually, especially in the summer. From Mediterranean beaches to Alpine hiking and city breaks with standout food, history, culture and nightlife, Europe is a hotspot for summer travel. The travel sector in Europe is benefiting from the consistent demand for experiences from consumers globally. According to the Mastercard Economics Institute , consumers are enjoying increased purchasing power as inflation has fallen below elevated wage growth across many countries, translating into higher discretionary spending. Spending on experiences, like summer holidays, is likely to remain strong.


All of the above trends lead to Albania entering the top three trending desinations, among the traditional places to visit like Croatia and Turkey. Munich ranks as the top trending destination for this summer (June-August 2024), as the city is set to host a major global sporting event in June, but is slosely followed by Tirana, Nice (France), Kerkyra/Corfu (Greece), and Istanbul (Turkey).  In 2024, the budget seaside destinations of Albania, Croatia and Turkey are registering among the highest growth in flight traffic. Tourism in Albania has grown particularly strongly, with the number of flight routes doubling since 2019 and tourist arrivals rising from 12 million in 2019 to 17 million in 2023, due to the attractive blend between nature, climate, pricing and events/festivals calendar.


Travelers globally continue to prioritize experiences. Tourists have spent more on nightlife and less on retail shopping, which has recovered at a slower pace. In the sections below, we explore various facets of how travelers spend while in their destination. Spending on experiences and nightlife totals 12% of tourism sales – highest point in at least five years. The share of total sales attributed to global tourism spending on experiences is 12% as of March 2024, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse™  Destinations – the higher than ever before.