Statistics Explained

Archive:Statistics on ICT use in tourism

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Data extracted in February 2016

Planned article update: June 2019


In 2014, accommodation was booked online for 55 % of the trips of EU residents who stayed in rented tourist accommodation.

In 2015, 39 % of the EU population reported having used the internet for purposes related to travel or travel accommodation.

Online booking for transport (% of all trips, EU-28, 2014
Source: Eurostat (tour_dem_tttr)

This article presents recent statistics on the importance of the internet for tourism industries, in particular the accommodation sector. The article comprises results from tourism statistics and from statistics on ICT usage by households/individuals and by enterprises. The rise of the internet has drastically changed the way citizens travel, prepare and book travel arrangements and the way players in the tourism sector do business. The 2010 Commission Communication Europe, the world's No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe highlighted that innovation and new information technologies have become determining factors to stimulate competitiveness in the European tourism sector.

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Majority of tourist accommodation is booked online

In 2014, rented tourist accommodation was booked online for 55 % of the trips made by residents of the EU (Figure 1, Table 1). The prevalence of online booking was a bit higher for trips abroad (59 %), but also for 52 % of trips spent in the tourists' own country accommodation arrangements were booked online. Table 1 reveals big differences across the European Union with accommodation booked online for more than 2 out of every 3 trips made by residents of the Netherlands (69 %), France (68 %) and Luxembourg (67 %), while accommodation was booked online for fewer than 10 % of the trips made by residents from Romania (7 %) and Bulgaria (9 %).

Figure 1: Online booking for tourist accommodation (% of all trips spent at rented accommodation), EU-28, 2014 (¹)
Source: Eurostat (tour_dem_ttorg)

Table 1: Online booking for tourist accommodation and transport , 2014
Source: Eurostat (tour_dem_ttorg) and (tour_dem_tttr)

For just under 1 in 4 tourism trips (24 %), transport was booked online (Figure 2, Table 1). However, for many trips where people travel with their own car no booking (whether online or offline) was needed. Figure 2 takes a closer look at the different means of transport. In 2014, air travel was predominantly booked online (67 %), but travel by train was also booked online for a majority of the trips where railways were the main means of transport (52 %). In six Member States (Belgium, Czech Republic, Greece, Spain, Romania and Slovakia), air travel was booked online for fewer than half of the trips.

Figure 2: Online booking for transport (% of all trips, EU-28, 2014 (¹)
Source: Eurostat (tour_dem_tttr)

The age pattern of online booking of rented accommodation and transport (Figure 3) was in line with the overall internet use by age group (see Internet use statistics – individuals). The share of online booking decreased slightly for older age groups. However, online booking of rented accommodation tended to be a bit less important for the youngest age group (15 to 24 years), possibly because youngsters may be more inclined to book their rented accommodation on arrival instead of making pre-booked arrangements. As regards air travel, the share of online booking exceeded 75 % for the younger age groups (15 to 34 years).

Figure 3: Online booking for tourist accommodation (% of all trips spent at rented accommodation) and for air travel by age, EU-28, 2014
Source: Eurostat (tour_dem_ttorg) and (tour_dem_tttr)

4 out of 10 Europeans look online for travel related information

With 4 out of 10 Europeans looking online for travel related information, the internet is a major communication channel for the tourism sector

This section looks at tourism and the internet from a different angle - the take-up and use of internet services related to travel by the population (not only tourists), in particular that part of the population who use the internet and/or tend to buy online. The analysis first focuses on internet use for looking up information on travel-related services before considering – in the next section - online ordering of such services.

According to the 2015 survey on ICT usage in households and by individuals, 39 % of the population (aged 16 to 74) reported having used the internet for purposes related to travel (or travel related accommodation services) in the three months preceding the interview (Figure 4, Table 2). When excluding non-internet users from the analysis and looking only at the relevant sub population of internet users, half of these had used the internet for travel purposes. Indeed, it is very likely that those not participating in tourism will not use the internet for searches or purchases related to travel. In 2014 (most recent data) 60 % of EU residents participated in tourism while 40 % did not make any tourism trip of at least one overnight stay away from home.

Figure 4: Internet use related to travel (2015); participation in tourism (2014), EU-28
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ci_ac_i) and (tour_dem_totot)

Table 2: Internet use related to travel (2015) and participation in tourism (2014)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ci_ac_i) and (tour_dem_totot)

Over 1 in 3 internet users bought or ordered travel related services online

In 2015, 65 % of Europeans who used the internet bought or ordered goods or services online (Figure 5). More than half of those who shopped online (52 %, or 34 % of all internet users) bought or ordered holiday accommodation and/or other travel arrangements such as transport tickets or car hire. 40 % of those who bought or ordered any goods or services online booked holiday accommodation (or 26 % of all internet users), while 37 % bought or ordered other travel arrangements online (or 24 % of all internet users).

Figure 5: Internet use for buying or ordering travel related services, EU-28, 2015
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ec_ibuy)

Figure 6 shows that, within the group of internet users, the propensity for buying or ordering goods or services online steadily increased from 56 % in 2010 to 65 % in 2015. A similar pattern was observed for travel related services, except for the most recent year for which data is available. In 2015, German and French internet users ordered less holiday accommodation (-4 percentage points and -5 percentage points respectively) and less other travel arrangements (-2 percentage points in both countries) than in 2014.

Figure 6: Internet use for buying or ordering travel related services (as % of all internet users), EU-28, 2010-2015
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ec_ibuy)

Tables 3 and 4 include data at country level, indicating big differences in the use of internet for buying/ordering travel related services. This share ranged from more than half of internet users in Denmark (59 %), the United Kingdom and Norway (both 55 %), Finland and Sweden (both 53 %) to fewer than 10 % of internet users in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Turkey (all 9 %), Romania (4 %) and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (3 %). These figures are highly determined by two underlying, explanatory factors - the general take-up of internet and the overall participation in tourism.

Table 3: Individuals who bought or ordered goods or services for private use over the internet in the last 12 months (as % of all individuals who used internet within the last year), 2015
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ec_ibuy)

Table 4: Individuals who bought or ordered holiday accommodation and other travel arrangements over the internet for private use in the last 12 months (as % of individuals who ordered any type of goods or services), 2015
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ec_ibuy)

Enterprises in the accommodation sector are well ahead of other sectors of the economy

In terms of website functionalities, enterprises in the accommodation sector are significantly ahead of other sectors of the economy

The above sections focused on the demand side, the take up of internet services related to travel by tourists or by internet users in general. This section complements the analysis with data on the supply side, the use of internet and e-commerce by enterprises (see also "Information society statistics – enterprises"). Although tourism contributes to many economic activities (see article "Tourism industries – economic analysis"), the analysis below focuses mainly on one particular tourism industry, the accommodation sector, with partial data available for tour operators and travel agencies.

In 2015, 97 % of enterprises in the whole economy (of 10 or more persons employed) had access to the internet (Figure 7); in the tourist accommodation sector this amounted to 99 % of enterprises (note that this covers enterprises with 10 employees or more; the smallest establishments are not covered).

Figure 7: Share of enterprises by use of the internet and economic activity, EU-28, 2015
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ci_eu_en2) and (isoc_ec_eu_en2)

Websites or home pages are the entry point for e-business. In 2015, 95 % of all enterprises in the accommodation sector had a website or homepage, compared with 75 % in the whole economy. In all Member States this share was much higher in the accommodation sector than in the whole economy. In only three Member States did fewer than 9 out of 10 enterprises in the accommodation sector have a website or homepage: Bulgaria (80 %), Latvia (88 %) and Romania (77 %) (Table 5).

Table 5: Use of the web and electronic commerce, 2015
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ci_cd_en2), (isoc_ec_eseln2) and (isoc_pibi_etecn2)

With 74 % of enterprises providing online ordering or reservation or booking through their website, the accommodation sector was significantly ahead of the whole economy (17 %). In eight Member States, at least 4 out of 5 accommodation establishments provided this service to their clients.

During 2014, 63 % of accommodation sector enterprises received orders via computer mediated networks, while this was the case for only 19 % of enterprises in the whole economy. Ireland and Spain were on top with more than 8 out of 10 enterprises, while this share was less than 1 in 3 in Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Slovakia.

During 2014, 17 % of turnover in the whole economy came from electronic commerce (e-commerce), while this share was 27 % for the accommodation sector (up from 11 % during 2009).

The accommodation sector also performed significantly higher than the rest of the economy in terms of social media use. As shown in Figure 8, 71 % of enterprises in the accommodation sector with internet access were using social media. This means that the take-up of social media is nearly twice as high in this sector than in the whole economy (36%). Two out of three enterprises active in the accommodation sector used social media to develop their image or for marketing purposes.

Figure 8: Use of social media, purpose of use (as % of enterprises with internet access), EU-28, 2015
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ci_eu_en2)

Source data for tables and graphs

Data sources

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 scope of observation for the data on participation in tourism are the residents of the country, aged 15 or over, and refers only to tourism for personal purposes, excluding trips made for professional reasons.

Annual data on ICT usage in households and by individuals

This survey covers those households having at least one member in the age group 16 to 74 years old. Internet access of households refers to the percentage of households that have an internet access, so that anyone in the household could use the internet at home, if so desired, even simply to send an e-mail. Internet users are defined as all individuals aged 16–74 who had used the internet in the three months prior to the survey. Regular internet users are individuals who used the internet, on average, at least once a week in the three months prior to the survey. The reference period for this survey was the first quarter of 2015; the survey period was the second quarter in most countries. The ordering of goods and services by individuals refers to the 12-month period prior to the survey and includes confirmed reservations for accommodation or travel, purchasing financial investments, telecommunication services, video games or software, as well as information services from the internet that are directly paid for. Goods and services that are obtained via the internet for free are excluded. Orders made by manually typed e-mails, SMS or MMS are also excluded.

Annual data on ICT usage in enterprises and e-commerce

The annual survey on ICT usage in enterprises covers enterprises that have at least 10 persons employed. The activity coverage is restricted to those enterprises whose principal activity is within NACE Rev. 2 Sections C to N excluding Section K and Division 75 but including Group 95.1: manufacturing; electricity, gas, steam and water supply, sewerage and waste management; construction; wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; transportation and storage; accommodation and food service activities; information and communication; real estate; professional, scientific and technical activities; administrative and support activities; and the repair of computers and communication equipment. ICT usage data are organised according to the year in which the survey was conducted; most data refer to the situation during the survey year, data on e-commerce refer to the calendar year preceding the survey year.


For more information on the context of the data collection used in this article, please consult the Contexts section in the reference articles listed under See also.

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