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Eurobarometer: Europeans planning to travel more in 2015 Published on: 02/03/2015, Last update: 05/05/2015

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Every year, Eurobarometer carries out a survey of the travel intentions of EU citizens. The survey identifies trends in travel – not only where people intend to go and how long they plan to stay, but also how do they find out about transport, accommodation, sites to see and places to eat, and how they go about arranging their trips.

The 2015 survey is available now and the results are encouraging. Europeans are planning more travel in 2015, continuing the trend from 2014. Out of 27 051 respondents to a Eurobarometer survey, 45% said they will go on holiday this year without changing their previous plans, while 32% said they will go on holiday but with changed plans. 11% will not go on holiday as a result of the economic situation, while 4% say they never go on holiday. Finally, 8% said they do not know if the economic situation will affect their plans.

Tourism has been one of the best preforming sectors in the European economy during the economic crisis, showing robustness and resilience. This positive trend is expected to continue in 2015. The Flash Eurobarometer survey on “Preferences of Europeans towards tourism” is an important indicator for the next tourism season and of consumers' willingness to travel. This is particularly important for Europe´s Mediterranean countries, where tourism plays a significant economic role. Tourism also benefits other sectors such as construction, transportation, entertainment, recreation, retail, gastronomy, and culture. Other results of the Eurobarometer 2015 survey on reasons for going on holiday in 2014 and holiday plans for 2015 are:

  • Impact of the current economic situation: In eight countries, at least 50% of respondents say that they will go on holiday without changing their plans. The highest increases can be observed in Bulgaria (37%, +10 percentage points compared with 2014), Spain (30%, +8 pp), and Slovakia (43%, +8pp). The largest increase in the proportion that say they are not going on holiday because of the economic situation can be seen in Romania (17%, +8 pp), while the largest decrease can be observed in Cyprus (11%, -8 pp). A small minority (2%) also mention that they are likely to spend more money while on holiday, with respondents in the Czech Republic and Poland (both 5%) most likely to say this.
  • Duration of holidays planned for 2015: A fifth of respondents (20%, no change) are planning more than 13 nights away. 43% (+1 pp) are planning to take holidays lasting between 4 and 13 consecutive nights in 2015, while 32% are planning to take short-stay trips of up to three consecutive nights.
  • Holiday destinations planned for 2015: 43% (+1 pp) say they plan to spend their main holiday in their own country, while almost three in ten (29%, no change) intend to spend their main holiday somewhere else in the EU. Roughly one in six respondents (17%, +1 pp) plans to travel to a country outside the EU, while 11% do not know where they will go.

European tourism in 2014

The proportion of Europeans travelling in 2014 for either personal or professional reasons slightly increased (72%, +2 pp) from the previous year. In 2012, 47% of respondents took their main holiday in their own country, while 33% went to other EU countries. The proportion taking holidays abroad has since increased. This is part of a longer term trend towards more holidays outside of one’s own country. In 2014, nearly 40% of travellers took their main holiday outside of their own country. Spain was again the most popular foreign destination (15%), followed by Italy (11%), and France (10%). Germany (8%) and Austria (6%) came next and were followed by North Africa/The Middle East (6%), Greece (5%), and Asia/Oceania (5%).

  • 48% (up from 46%) gave spending time in the sun or at the beach as a main reason for going on holiday. 36% (+2 pp) mentioned visiting family, friends, or relatives, and 31% (+1 pp) said that nature was one of the main reasons they went on holiday in 2014.
  • Main reason for not going on holidays: Financial reasons are the main reason for why respondents did not go on holiday (42%, down from 46% in 2012), followed by health reasons (15%), and a lack of free time due to work/study commitments (13%). In three countries, the primary reason for not going on holiday was a preference to stay at home with no motivation to travel: Sweden (31%), Belgium (26%), and Austria (25%).
  • Over half of respondents (55%) mentioned the recommendations of friends, colleagues or relatives, when making decisions about their travel plans. Just under half (46%) mentioned Internet websites.
  • The Internet (66%) was by far the most common way of organising a holiday and its use is constantly growing (+8 pp since January 2014). It is particularly popular for booking short holidays.
  • Booking the various parts of a holiday separately remains popular among Europeans (41 %).
  • 36% (no change from January 2014) went on a package holiday that was not all-inclusive.
  • 30% (+2 pp) went on an all-inclusive holiday. Most respondents did so only once (20%) or twice (6%). 33% stayed with friends or relatives (-10 pp), 18% stayed on their own property or in a second home, 12% stayed on a campsite, and 12% stayed in another type of accommodation.
  • Respondents expressed a high level of satisfaction with most aspects of their main holiday:
  • Just 4% of respondents say that they registered a complaint in 2014, the same proportion as in 2013.
  • The natural features of a holiday destination are seen as the main reason for wanting to return to the same place according to 47% of respondents. The quality of accommodation is the next most significant factor (33%), followed by cultural and historical attractions (30%).
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