Tourism statistics - expenditure
Data extracted in July 2019.
Planned article update: June 2021.
In 2017, EU residents spent an estimated EUR 467 billion on tourism trips, mostly on trips abroad (56 %).
EU residents spent 82 % of their tourism expenditure on trips inside Europe (78 % inside the EU).
The other articles in this online publication analyse physical flows of tourists. This one adds a monetary dimension by taking a closer look at the expenditure of EU residents during tourism trips made in 2017. In the context of the article, all expenditure for a given trip refers to individual expenditure (not household expenditure or the expenditure of a travel party). The expenditure is allocated to the main country of destination, no matter in which country the service provider is based or where the turnover or added value was created. For example, if an individual uses an airline carrier, travel agency or tour operator based in a country other than that of the main destination, this expenditure will be allocated to the main country of destination, not to the country of the airline carrier, travel agency or tour operator.
German tourists accounted for 26% of EU tourism expenditure
In 2017, EU residents spent an estimated EUR 467 billion on tourism trips (see Table 1). Of this, they spent 44 % on trips within their own country of residence (domestic tourism) and 56 % on trips abroad (outbound tourism) (see Table 2).
For each tourism trip, Europeans spent on average EUR 377. Broken down by destination, they spent EUR 223 on average on a domestic trip and EUR 812 on an outbound trip. The average spent per night was EUR 75 (EUR 58 on average for each domestic tourism night and EUR 97 a night on average for trips abroad).
German, French and British tourists were the biggest spenders in absolute terms. Their expenditure accounted for 58 % of all of the tourism expenditure of EU residents. This share is much more than the proportion of German, French and British tourists in the total number of trips (50 %) or overnight stays (53 %) - see the article on the characteristics of tourism trips.
Per trip, tourists from Luxembourg spent the most (EUR 769), followed by Austrian (EUR 641) and Maltese tourists (EUR 633). Domestic tourism expenditure per trip was highest in Austria (EUR 371), followed by Denmark (EUR 351) and Italy (EUR 331). The biggest spenders per outbound tourism trip were Danish (EUR 1 279), Cypriot (EUR 1 059) and French (EUR 1 000) tourists (see Table 1).
Residents of Denmark (EUR 162), Austria (EUR 132), Malta (EUR 128), Ireland (EUR 112), Luxembourg (EUR 108) and Finland (EUR 102) spent at least EUR 100 per night on average during their tourism trips.
In eight of the 28 EU countries, residents spent more than half of the tourism expenditure during 2017 on domestic trips. The highest shares for domestic expenditure were observed for Romania (79 %) and Greece (76 %), followed by Spain (66 %), France and Portugal (both at 65 %) and Bulgaria and Italy (both at 64 %). For the majority of countries, however, most of the tourism expenditure occurred in foreign destinations with the residents of Luxembourg (99 %), Belgium (93 %) and Malta (92 %) having spent in outbound trips more than 90 % of their total tourism expenditure.
In all countries, most tourism expenditure occurred during longer trips of four or more nights (EU average: 72 %). Only in the case of Sweden (2016 data) was tourism expenditure for short trips of one to three nights higher than for long trips, then followed Finland where the share of expenditure for short trips was higher compared with other Member States, however still lower than for long trips (Table 2).
Of all tourism expenditure, 78 % was on trips to a destination inside the EU
In 2017, intra-EU tourism accounted for 94 % of all tourism trips (73 % of which were domestic trips and 21 % trips to another Member State). In terms of expenditure, however, domestic trips accounted for 44 % of total tourism expenditure (see figure 1), all EU destinations (including domestic) for 78 % and destinations outside the EU for 22 % (compared with only 6 % of the number of tourism trips).
Europeans travelling to foreign continents spent most on trips to America (8 % of total expenditure by EU residents on tourism trips), followed by Asia (6 %), then Africa (3 %) and Oceania (1 %). European destinations outside the EU accounted for around 4 % of all of the tourism expenditure of EU residents.
Accommodation took up 37 % of tourism expenditure, while transport accounted for 31 % and miscellaneous other costs for 32 % (see Figure 2). Looking at domestic and outbound trips separately, the share of transport expenditure was higher by 11 percentage points for outbound trips than for domestic trips. The difference in the share of accommodation expenditure was less significant (+4 percentage points for outbound trips).
On average, expenditure per trip was higher for trips for which the main accommodation was rented (see Figure 3). The average cost of trips spent at hotels was EUR 581 (as compared with the overall average of EUR 377), while trips spent at an own holiday home cost EUR 189 on average and those spent at accommodation provided free of charge by friends or relatives cost EUR 160.
For trips where the main means of accommodation was rented accommodation, the average expenditure per night on accommodation was EUR 47 – ranging from EUR 24 per night for trips spent mainly at campsites to EUR 59 for trips spent mainly at hotels (see Figure 4).
Age made a slight difference to the average expenditure per trip
Tourists under 35 years old accounted for less tourism expenditure (28 %) than tourism trips in 2017 (31 %). On average they spent EUR 311 (15-24 years old) and EUR 356 (25-34 years old) per trip (see Figure 5 and Figure 6). All other (and older) age groups spent EUR 395 on average per trip, while tourists aged from 45 to 54 years spent the most (EUR 413).
Business travel accounted for 16 % of total tourism expenditure in 2017
Holiday, leisure and recreation trips accounted for the majority of tourism expenditure (64 %) in 2017 (see Figure 7). Visits to relatives and friends accounted for only 15 % of all tourism expenditure but they represented 34 % of all tourism trips (accommodation was often free on such trips). A typical visit to relatives and friends costs less than half the average tourism trip (EUR 171 compared to the overall average of EUR 377) (see Figure 8).
Business trips accounted for 16 % of tourism expenditure in 2017. At EUR 517, they recorded the highest average expenditure per trip while the expenditure per night (see Figure 9) was 2.3 times higher for business trips than for trips for personal purposes (EUR 154 per night versus EUR 68 per night).
Source data for tables and graphs
Collection of annual data on trips of EU residents
The collection consists of harmonised data collected by the Member States in the frame of the Regulation (EU) No 692/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning European statistics on tourism.
The scope of observation for data on tourism trips are all tourism trips with at least one overnight stay, made by the resident population aged 15 and over. It includes trips made for private or professional purpose, outside the usual environment.
The EU is a major tourist destination, with five Member States among the world’s top ten destinations for holidaymakers, according to UNWTO data. Tourism is an important activity in the EU which contributes to employment and economic growth, as well as to the development of rural, peripheral or less-developed areas. These characteristics drive the demand for reliable and harmonised statistics on this activity, as well as within the wider context of regional policy and sustainable development policy areas.
- Tourism (t_tour), see:
- Tourism (tour), see:
- Annual data on trips of EU residents
- Number of tourism trips (tour_dem_tt)
- Number of tourism nights (tour_dem_tn)
- Expenditure on tourism trips (tour_dem_ex)
- Annual data on trips of EU residents (ESMS metadata file — tour_dem_esms)
- With 2012 as reference year:
- Regulation (EU) No 692/2011 of 6 July 2011 concerning European statistics on tourism and repealing Council Directive 95/57/EC. (Summary)
- Regulation (EU) No 1051/2011 of 20 October 2011 implementing Regulation 692/2011 concerning European statistics on tourism, as regards the structure of the quality reports and the transmission of the data.
- Previous legal acts (concerning reference periods before 2012):
- Directive 95/57/EC of 23 November 1995 on the collection of statistical information in the field of tourism.
- Commission Decision 1999/35/CE of 9 December 1998 on the procedures for implementing Council Directive 95/57/EC on the collection of statistical information in the field of tourism.
- Commission Decision 2004/883/CE of 10 December 2004 adjusting the Annex to Council Directive 95/57/EC on the collection of statistical information in the field of tourism as regards country lists.
- Directive 2006/110/EC of 20 November 2006 adapting Directives 95/57/EC and 2001/109/EC in the field of statistics, by reason of the accession of Bulgaria and Romania.