72% of EU citizens travelled in 2011, and more than 80% said that they would do so in 2012, choosing to go either on short trips or longer holidays. These are the results of the new Eurobarometer survey on the attitudes of Europeans towards tourism, which also sheds light on the preferences and travel patterns of EU citizens.
The Eurobarometer revealed also that in 2011 more citizens chose to stay in Europe for their holidays; many more have said they will do so in 2012.
European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "Our continent's cultural and natural richness, and long-standing traditions of hospitality, are still close to the hearts of Europeans. The European Tourism sector has performed well, and it even grew in 2011. Our data underline that the sector will further improve in 2012. This confirms that travel and tourism are powerful economic drivers for the European recovery".
The preferences of European tourists
The Eurobarometer survey provides interesting insights into the preferences of European travellers:
The Eurobarometer survey
For this Eurobarometer survey, over 30,000 randomly selected citizens aged 15 and over were interviewed in January 2012 in the 27 EU Member States as well as in Norway, Iceland, Croatia, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Israel.
This is the fourth consecutive year that the European Commission has carried out such an extensive survey, which offers a wealth of comparable information to all tourism stakeholders, presented analytically in country specific and demographic categories. It helps to monitor the short and medium term travel and tourism trends of European citizens.
This allows both the Commission and its stakeholders to react to changes in tourism demand, and is therefore an important instrument for tourism policy-making as well as for tourism industry planning, in particular as regards the types of tourism and the main tourism destinations.
According to Eurostat, the European tourist-accommodation sector reached in 2011 record numbers in the EU 27, surpassing pre-crisis results. Nights spent by non-residents in hotels and other similar establishments went up by more than 7%, whereas nights spent by residents went up by 1.2%
The highest numbers of nights spent in hotels by non-residents were recorded in Spain (+14,7%) and Italy (+ 3.9%), whereas the largest increase of nights spent by residents in hotels were recorded in Lithuania (+20.6%), Bulgaria (+15.0%) and Romania (+13.4%).