European tourism 'recovering'

The scars left by the global recession, the harshest since the Second World War, are gradually fading in the European tourism sector as various countries report rising levels in the number of tourists.

This is according to ISTAT data released earlier this week, which released a report indicating a 5.4 per cent rise in tourism across the first ten months of 2013, although some countries fared worse than others when it came to recovery across their travel sectors.

Despite apparent confirmation that Italy's tourism industry was back on track from data published at the start of January, the country was found to be suffering from below par visitor numbers, particularly compared to its European equivalents.

While the rest of Europe published a rise of 5.4 per cent, Italy's arrival figures actually fell by 4.3 per cent in arrivals and a 4.4 per cent drop in overnight stays, showing that some nations are experiencing problems not highlighted by the collective survey data.

Despite this, the report remained optimistic that tourism across the continent – and particularly in the Mediterranean – will witness dramatic recovery over the next few years.

"The period of economic uncertainty will produce an increase in spending by tourists with a growing availability of expenditure and those most sensitive to economic cycles," it stated, adding that countries such as Italy need to focus on their tourism levels in a unified manner.

Those wishing to glean an insight into a more authentic side of this magnificent nation should consider a small size cruise vessel, such as the 36-cabin Variety Voyager yacht offered on the Treasures of Italy itinerary.

Elsewhere, tourism numbers for Greece have been soaring, with the country's collection of beautiful islands proving as popular as ever and the country's airports welcoming in a 21 per cent increase in foreign visitors.

Island hopping is an especially popular pastime, and whether you fancy experiencing the Idyllic Aegean or prefer exploring the Jewels of the Cyclades, you're bound to appreciate the temperate climate and