According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, EU27 residents made 1.0 billion holiday trips in 2011, of which around one quarter were trips outside their country of residence (outbound trips).
Spain was the top foreign destination of EU27 residents in 2011 (13% of all outbound trips), followed by Italy and France (both 9%). These figures do not include trips made by non EU residents to the EU.
Highest share of outbound holiday trips in Luxembourg and Belgium
Among the Member States, the highest numbers of outbound holiday trips in 2011 were recorded by residents of Germany (73 million or 34% of holiday trips made by residents), the United Kingdom (44 mn or 38%), France (22 mn or 11%) and the Netherlands (16 mn or 52%). These four Member States accounted for almost two thirds of all outbound holiday trips made by EU27 residents.
In a majority of Member States, most holiday trips were made within the country of residence, while half or more than half of all trips made by residents of Luxembourg (nearly 100% of all holiday trips), Belgium (74%), Slovenia (56%), the Netherlands (52%) and Austria (50%) were trips to a foreign country.
Top destinations for outbound trips are neighbouring or nearby countries
In all EU27 Member States, the top destination of outbound holiday trips made by residents in 2011 was a neighbouring or nearby country, except for residents of Romania (Italy was the top destination of outbound trips), Sweden (Greece) and the United Kingdom (Spain).
Among the top three destinations of outbound holiday trips:
- Spain was the preferred holiday destination for residents of Portugal (39% of outbound trips), the United Kingdom (21%) and France (18%),
- while France was the top destination for residents of Belgium (33%), Luxembourg (23%), Spain and Italy (both 16%),
- and Italy was the preferred destination for residents of Malta (32%), Austria (22%) and Romania (20%).
In addition, Germany was the top destination for holiday trips abroad for residents of the Netherlands (18%), Poland (15%) and Denmark (14%).
More than 3 out of 4 trips were domestic trips – i.e. trips in the tourist's own country. In terms of nights spent and expenditure, domestic trips accounted for 60 % and 46 % of the total respectively. For most EU countries, the domestic market was dominant with the exceptions of the Benelux countries and Slovenia. In the case of Belgium and Luxembourg, more tourists spent their holidays in France - the number one foreign destination - than in their own country.