The tourism sector is one of the few sectors that have continued to grow and create jobs, despite the crisis.
Seven out of ten Europeans travelled in 2012 (the same proportion as in 2011). And of EU holiday makers, as many as 88% spent their vacations somewhere within the EU, either in their own country or in another Member State. The industry's robust and resilient performance is expected to continue in 2013: three quarters of respondents to a recent EU survey (75%) are planning to go on holiday this year, although 34% will adapt their holiday plans to take the economic situation into account. Holiday plans for 2013 closely resembled the destinations chosen in 2012. Spain (12%), Italy (8%) and France (7%) are still the most preferred destinations, and 51% plan to take a holiday in their own country.
These are the most important results of the latest Flash Eurobarometer survey on the attitudes of Europeans towards tourism published today. It also explores the motivations for going on holiday, how holidays were arranged, holiday satisfaction and the plans for the future.
European travellers prefer to stay in Europe
The survey found the following:
- 71% of Europeans travelled for work or private reasons in 2012. Tourism remained stable compared to last year's survey. A socio-demographic analysis reveals that a majority of respondents who travelled are aged 15-39, or have a high level of education, or live in a large town.
- Europeans who did not travel in 2012 mostly cited financial reasons for not taking a holiday (46%). This is consistent with the results from the previous year (45%). Respondents who did not travel in 2012 are more likely to be aged 55+, are manual workers, unemployed, or live in a single person household.
- 88% of EU respondents who travelled for a personal holiday of at least four nights went somewhere within the EU.
- Spending time in the sunshine or at the beach was the main reason for a holiday of at least four consecutive nights in 2012 (40%), closely followed by visiting family, friends or relatives (36%).
- Spain was the most popular destination for EU holiday makers in 2012 (10%), followed by Italy and France (both 8%). Croatia was also among the preferred destinations in 2012 (3%).
- A large proportion of EU respondents (58%) spent their holidays in their own country, a similar result to that of the 2011 survey (56%). Domestic holidays were most common in Greece (87%), Italy (80%), Bulgaria (79%) Spain (73%), and Croatia (74%).
- Staying in paid accommodation or staying with friends or relatives also increased in popularity compared to 2011.
- 92% of EU respondents were satisfied with the quality of accommodation in 2012. 31% of respondents consider the quality of accommodation as main factor for a decision to return to the same holiday destination.
- Most EU citizens were satisfied with the general level of prices (83%), which represents another key reason to go back to the same holiday destination.
This European Commission survey focussed on the attitudes of Europeans towards tourism. The survey was carried out by TNS Political and Social in the 27 Member States of the European Union and Croatia, Turkey, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Norway, Serbia and Israel. This is the fifth consecutive year that the European Commission has carried out such an extensive survey. It helps to monitor the short and medium term travel and tourism trends of European citizens. It 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.