European Neighbourhood Policy - South - tourism statistics


Data extracted in December 2017. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: February 2019.

This article is part of an online publication and presents information relating to tourism in the European Union (EU) and 8 of the 10 countries that form the European Neighbourhood Policy-South (ENP-South) region, namely, Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine [1] and Tunisia; no recent data for Libya or Syria. It highlights recent developments over the period 2006-2016, with information on capacity (the number of bed places) and international demand (the number of arrivals of non-residents at hotels and similar accommodation) for inbound tourism, as well as information on the number of outbound trips made by tourists.

Table 1: Number of bed places in hotels and similar accommodation establishments, 2006-2016
(thousands)
Source: Eurostat (tour_cap_nat)
Figure 1: Developments for bed places in hotels and similar accommodation establishments, 2006-2016
(2006 = 100)
Source: Eurostat (tour_cap_nat)
Figure 2: Capacity of bed places in hotels and similar accommodation establishments, 2006 and 2016
(number of bed places per 1 000 inhabitants)
Source: Eurostat (tour_cap_nat) and (demo_pjan)
Table 2: Number of arrivals of non-residents staying in hotels and similar accommodation establishments, 2006-2016
(thousands)
Source: Eurostat (tour_occ_arnat)
Figure 3: Developments for arrivals of non-residents staying in hotels and similar accommodation establishments, 2006-2016
(2006 = 100)
Source: Eurostat (tour_occ_arnat)
Figure 4: Arrivals of non-residents in hotels and similar accommodation establishments relative to the number of bed places, 2006 and 2016
(arrivals of non-residents per bed place)
Source: Eurostat (tour_occ_arnat) and (tour_cap_nat)
Figure 5: Arrivals of non-residents in hotels and similar establishments relative to population, 2006 and 2016
(arrivals of non-residents per 1 000 inhabitants)
Source: Eurostat (tour_occ_arnat) and (demo_pjan)
Table 3: Number of trips taken by outbound tourists, 2006-2016
(thousands)
Source: Eurostat (tour_dem_tttot)
Figure 6: Developments for the number of trips taken by outbound tourists, 2006-2016
(2006 = 100)
Source: Eurostat (tour_dem_tttot)
Figure 7: Number of trips taken by outbound tourists relative to population, 2006 and 2016
(average number of trips per 1 000 inhabitants)
Source: Eurostat (tour_dem_tttot) and (demo_pjan)

Main statistical findings

Number of bed places

There were over a million bed places in hotels and similar accommodation establishments across the ENP-South countries

The number of bed places available in hotels and similar accommodation establishments provides one measure of a country’s capacity to attract tourists; note that official tourism statistics include business travellers as tourists alongside individuals travelling for pleasure or other reasons.

The eight ENP-South countries for which data are shown in Table 1 had a combined total of 1.1 million bed places (the latest information for seven of the countries relates to 2015 or 2016, while data for Lebanon are from 2011). By comparison, there were 13.5 million bed places in hotels and similar accommodation establishments in the EU-28 in 2015.

Among the ENP-South countries, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt (both 2015 data) had the highest number of bed places in hotels and similar accommodation establishments, with 205-235 thousand each. In Israel and Algeria there were over 100 thousand bed places each, while there were 93 thousand bed places in Lebanon (2011 data) and 54 thousand in Jordan. The lowest levels of capacity were recorded for Palestine, with 15 thousand bed places available (see Table 1).

The number of bed places grew in most ENP-South countries in recent years

Figure 1 provides information on the development of the number of bed places in hotels and similar accommodation establishments over the period 2006-2016. Developments in Egypt were quite irregular, with an increase through to 2009, three successive years of reductions to 2012, a rebound in 2013 and then two more years of reductions, such that the total number of bed places was 20 % lower in 2015 than it had been in 2006. Apart from Egypt, all of the other ENP-South countries reported an overall growth in their respective number of bed places between 2006 and 2015 or 2016. There was a small decline in bed capacity in the early years of this period in Israel, followed by an upswing between 2012 and 2016. By contrast, in Tunisia, capacity initially increased, but stabilised between 2009 and 2015 before falling in 2016. In Algeria and Jordan there was a fairly regular, moderate upwards development, while in Morocco and Palestine there were also regular, but stronger increases, as their number of bed places increased by about three-quarters over the 10-year period under consideration. For comparison, the number of bed places in hotels and similar accommodation establishments in the EU-28 increased overall by 16 % during the period 2006-2015.

Figure 2 presents another measure for analysing the number of bed places in hotels and similar establishments, providing this information in relation to the size of the national population. The EU-28 recorded a higher capacity of bed places than any of the ENP-South countries, with an average of 27 bed places in hotels and similar accommodation establishments per 1 000 inhabitants in 2015. Tunisia came closest to the EU-28 average, with 21 bed places in hotels and similar accommodation establishments per 1 000 inhabitants in 2016, reflecting the importance of tourism to the Tunisian economy; note that this value includes also bed places in specialised establishments and campsites. In Israel, the capacity of bed places was a little over half the level in the EU-28, while in Morocco (2015 data) and Jordan it was about one quarter of the EU-28 level. Despite the increase in the number of bed places in nearly all of the ENP-South countries in terms of absolute figures, in four countries (Tunisia, Jordan, Egypt and Israel) the capacity of bed places available per 1 000 inhabitants decreased in the period shown in Figure 2 because of faster population growth.

Tourist arrivals

The number of non-resident arrivals in hotels and similar accommodation establishments in Egypt returned to growth in 2014

The largest number of arrivals of non-residents in hotels and similar accommodation establishments across the ENP-South countries (see Table 2 for data availability) was recorded by Egypt, with 7.4 million arrivals in 2014; while this was considerably less than the number of arrivals recorded in 2010 it was an increase compared with the previous year. Morocco had the second largest number of arrivals, 4.2 million in 2014, while in 2016 Israel and Tunisia recorded 2.8 million and 2.3 million arrivals respectively. These figures can be compared with a total of 297 million arrivals of non-residents at hotels and similar accommodation establishments in the EU-28 in 2016.

Figure 3 shows the development of the number of arrivals of non-residents staying in hotels and similar accommodation establishments during the period 2006-2016. Apart from in Tunisia, there was an increase in the number of arrivals of non-residents in all of the ENP-South countries for which data are available. By far the strongest increase (in percentage terms) was recorded for Palestine, the number of arrivals increasing by a factor of four and a half through to 2014 before dropping back in 2015 and 2016. Although less spectacular, the increase in the number of non-resident arrivals in Algeria was also high, nearly trebling, while in Israel there was an irregular development with overall growth between 2006 and 2010, followed by a gentle decline which was reversed in 2016. Between 2006 and 2009 there was no substantial change in the number of arrivals in Morocco followed by growth in 2010, a decline in 2011 and growth thereafter, bringing the total number of arrivals of non-residents back above the 2006 level in both 2013 and 2014. In Tunisia, the number of non-resident arrivals was also stable between 2006 and 2008 after which it fell most years, most notably in 2011 and 2015; in 2016 there was a small increase in non-resident arrivals in Tunisia. Although a time series before 2009 is not available for Egypt, the information that is available highlights the impact of political turmoil in recent years: in 2010, the number of non-resident arrivals in Egypt was 12.9 million, but was less than half this level (6.3 million) by 2013, although in 2014 growth returned to bring the number up to 7.4 million.

An alternative analysis is presented in Figure 4: this shows the number of non-resident arrivals in hotels and similar accommodation establishments per bed place. Caution is advised when interpreting these figures: they do not represent occupancy rates, as they do not take into account the length of the stay. Across the EU-28, this ratio averaged 23.0 arrivals of non-residents per bed place in 2016, a level exceeded by Egypt (2014 data) and Palestine, but slightly above the ratios in Israel and Morocco (2014 data). Tunisia and Algeria reported ratios that were substantially lower than in any of the other ENP-South countries, 9.7 and 5.5 non-resident arrivals respectively in hotels and similar accommodation establishments per bed place in 2016. This ratio increased during the period covered in Figure 4 in the EU-28 and in Palestine, Israel and Algeria while it fell in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

Figure 5 shows the number of arrivals of non-residents in hotels and similar accommodation establishments relative to the number of inhabitants. In the EU-28 there were 619 arrivals of non-residents per 1 000 inhabitants in 2016, which marked an overall increase of 40 % when compared with the same ratio for 2006.

Among the ENP-South countries, the ratio of non-resident arrivals to population was systematically lower than in the EU-28. The highest values in 2016 were recorded for Israel and Tunisia, with 333 and 203 non-resident arrivals per 1 000 inhabitants respectively. The ratio of non-resident arrivals to the number of inhabitants was around one fifth of the ratio in the EU-28 for Morocco (2014 data). However, although the ratio remained low, the number of non-resident arrivals relative to population increased in percentage terms at a much faster pace in Palestine (although there is a break in series) and Algeria (2006-2015) than it did in the EU-28, while the ratio fell strongly in Egypt (2009-2014) and Tunisia.

Outbound tourists

The number of outbound trips taken by tourists from Egypt was over 9 million in 2015

This final section details the outward flow of tourists travelling abroad. There were 278 million trips made by EU-28 tourists to destinations outside of their own Member State in 2015; note that EU-28 data for this particular indicator only refer to persons aged 15 and over.

Among the ENP-South countries for which data are available, the highest number of outbound trips taken by tourists was recorded for Israel at 6.8 million in 2016. There were 5.3 million outbound trips made by tourists from Egypt — the most populous of the ENP-South countries —the same year, ahead of Algeria with 4.5 million (see Table 3).

Developments for the number of outbound tourist trips between 2006 and 2016 are shown in Figure 6. With the exceptions of Algeria and Egypt there was an uneven expansion in the number of outbound tourist trips. Algeria recorded the strongest overall growth, with its number of outbound tourists more than trebling during these 10 years. Among the ENP-South countries for which a relatively long time series is available, Israel was the only country that recorded a lower number of departures in the most recent year for which data are available when compared with the situation in 2006: the number of departures fell strongly in 2008, 2011 and again in 2016.

Figure 7 presents the number of outbound trips taken by tourists relative to the size of the population. In the EU-28 there were, on average, 546 trips per 1 000 inhabitants in 2015; note that the tourist trip figures relate to persons aged 15 and over and the ratio is calculated relative to the total population.

Among the ENP-South countries, Israel recorded the highest ratio of outbound trips relative to population size, at 801 trips per 1 000 inhabitants in 2016, followed by Lebanon with 607 trips per 1 000 inhabitants in 2012. These were the only two ENP-South countries (for which data are available) to record ratios above the EU-28 average: in Jordan it was approximately one third of the EU-28 average, while in Algeria (2015 data) it was less than one fifth and in Egypt it was nearer to one tenth of the EU-28 average.

Data sources and availability

Tourism, in a statistical context, refers to the activity of visitors taking a trip to a destination outside their usual environment, for less than a year. It can be for any main purpose, including business, leisure or other personal reasons other than to be employed in the place visited. A tourist is a visitor that stays overnight (at least one night).

Within the EU, a system of tourism statistics was established through Council Directive 95/57/EC of 23 November 1995 on the collection of statistical information in the field of tourism. This legal basis requires EU Member States to provide a regular set of comparable tourism statistics. Following amendments in 2004 and 2006, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted Regulation (EU) No 692/2011 concerning European statistics on tourism in 2011 (repealing Council Directive 95/57/EC).

Tourism statistics in the EU consist of two main components: on the one hand, statistics relating to capacity and occupancy (supply side tourism statistics); on the other, statistics relating to tourism demand. In most EU Member States, the former are collected via surveys filled in by accommodation establishments, while the latter are mainly collected via traveller surveys at border crossings or through household surveys. Statistics on tourism demand refer to tourist participation, in other words, trips of at least one overnight stay during the reference period.

The data for ENP-South countries are supplied by and under the responsibility of the national statistical authorities of each country on a voluntary basis. The data that are presented in this article result from an annual data collection cycle that has been established by Eurostat. No recent data are available from either Libya or Syria. These statistics are available free-of-charge on Eurostat’s website, together with a range of different indicators covering most socio-economic areas.

Tables in this article use the following notation:

Value in italics     data value is forecasted, provisional or estimated and is therefore likely to change;
: not available, confidential or unreliable value;
not applicable.

Context

Tourism has the potential to contribute towards employment and economic growth, as well as to development in rural, peripheral or less-developed areas. Infrastructure created for tourism purposes contributes to local development, while jobs that are created or maintained can help counteract industrial or rural decline. Sustainable tourism involves the preservation and enhancement of cultural and natural heritage, ranging from the arts to local gastronomy or the preservation of biodiversity.

On 18 November 2015, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission jointly presented a review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (SWD(2015) 500 final) which underlined a new approach for the EU in relation to its eastern and southern neighbours, based on stabilising the region in political, economic, and security-related terms.

In cooperation with its ENP partners, Eurostat has the responsibility ‘to promote and implement the use of European and internationally recognised standards and methodology for the production of statistics necessary for developing and monitoring policy achievements in all policy areas’. Eurostat undertakes the task of coordinating EU efforts to increase the statistical capacity of the ENP countries. Additional information on the policy context of the ENP is provided here.

See also

Further Eurostat information

Publications

Database

Tourism (med_to)
Main flows (med_to11)
Arrivals by type of accommodation (med_to12)
Nights spent by type of accommodation (med_to13)
Accommodation establishments (med_to21)
Number of bed-places (med_to22)
Monthly data on tourism industries (tour_indm)
Annual data on tourism industries (tour_inda)
Annual data on trips of EU residents (tour_dem)

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)

External links

Notes

  1. This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.