European Neighbourhood Policy - South - tourism statistics
Data extracted in December 2018.
Planned article update: January 2020.
There were 1.1 million bed places in hotels and similar accommodation establishments across the European Neighbourhood Policy-South countries in 2017, compared with 13.9 million in the EU.
Among the European Neighbourhood Policy-South countries, non-resident arrivals in hotels and similar accommodation establishments more than trebled in Algeria between 2007 and 2017, but fell by a quarter in Morocco.
Among the European Neighbourhood Policy-South countries, 8.1 million outbound trips were taken by tourists from Egypt in 2017, 7.6 million from Israel and 6.9 million from Jordan.
This article is part of an online publication and presents information relating to tourism in the European Union (EU) and eight of the countries that form the European Neighbourhood Policy-South (ENP-South) region — Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine  and Tunisia; no recent data are available for Libya or Syria. It highlights recent developments over the period 2007-2017, 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.
Number of bed places
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 relates to 2016 or 2017). By comparison, there were 13.9 million bed places in hotels and similar accommodation establishments in the EU-28 in 2017.
Among the ENP-South countries, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt (all 2016 data) had the highest number of bed places in hotels and similar accommodation establishments, with between 202 000 and 243 000 each. In Israel, Lebanon (2016 data) and Algeria there were over 100 000 bed places each. The lowest levels of capacity were recorded for Jordan and Palestine, with 29 000 and 16 000 bed places available respectively (see Table 1).
Figure 1 provides information on the development of the number of bed places in hotels and similar accommodation establishments over the period 2007-2017. 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 three more years of reductions, such that the total number of bed places was 24 % lower in 2016 than it had been in 2007. Apart from Egypt, the only other ENP-South country to report a fall was Tunisia, where bed capacity was just 0.4 % lower in 2016 than in 2007. Elsewhere the number of bed places increased between 2007 and 2016 or 2017. In Israel, there was a small decline in bed capacity in the early years of this period, followed by an upswing between 2012 and 2017. 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 period under consideration. Data for Lebanon are incomplete, but show a very large increase in bed places between 2007 and 2011 followed by a more moderate increase through until 2016. For comparison, the number of bed places in hotels and similar accommodation establishments in the EU-28 increased overall by 17 % during the period 2007-2017.
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 2017. 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 (2016 data) 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, Egypt, Israel and Jordan) the capacity of bed places available per 1 000 inhabitants decreased during the period shown in Figure 2, as population growth outstripped any increase in bed places.
The largest number of arrivals of non-residents in hotels and similar accommodation establishments across the ENP-South countries in 2017 or nearest year (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. Israel had the second largest number of arrivals among ENP-South countries, 3.7 million in 2017, while in 2016 Morocco and Tunisia recorded 2.9 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 2007-2017. By far the strongest increase (in percentage terms) was recorded for Algeria, the number of arrivals more than trebling between 2007 and 2017. Although less spectacular, the increase in the number of non-resident arrivals in Palestine was also high, although irregular, nearly doubling overall between 2007 and 2017. In Israel there was also an irregular development between 2007 and 2010, followed by a gentle decline which was reversed in 2016 and 2017. In Morocco, there was a decline in the number of arrivals between 2007 and 2011 (despite growth in 2010), followed by growth until 2014 and a relatively strong subsequent decline through to 2016, the total change amounting to a fall of 25 %. In Tunisia, the number of non-resident arrivals was stable between 2007 and 2008 after which it fell most years, most notably in 2011 — followed by a rebound in 2012 — and 2015 — again followed by a small rebound in 2016. 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 21.5 arrivals of non-residents per bed place in 2016, a level exceeded by Egypt (2014 data), Palestine and Israel, but above the ratios in the three remaining ENP-South countries for which data are available. This ratio increased in the EU-28 during the reference period and also 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 582 arrivals of non-residents per 1 000 inhabitants in 2017, which marked an overall increase of 30 % when compared with the same ratio for 2008.
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 2017 were recorded for Israel and Tunisia (2016 data), with 427 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 Palestine and around one seventh of the EU-28 ratio in Egypt (2014 data) and Morocco (2016 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 than it did in the EU-28, while the ratio fell strongly in Morocco (2007-2016), Egypt (2009-2014) and Tunisia (2007-2016).
This final section details the outward flow of tourists travelling abroad. There were 331 million trips made by EU-28 tourists to destinations outside of their own Member State in 2017; 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 Egypt at 8.1 million in 2017 while there were 7.6 million outbound trips made by tourists from Israel in the same year, ahead of Jordan 6.9 million (see Table 3).
Developments for the number of outbound tourist trips between 2007 and 2017 are shown in Figure 6. With the exceptions of Algeria and Egypt there was an uneven development. Algeria recorded the strongest overall growth, with its number of outbound tourist trips more than trebling during these 10 years. In Israel the number of trips increased overall by 83 % while in Lebanon the number of trips in 2017 was 20 % higher than in 2007 after an uneven development. Among the ENP-South countries for which a relatively long time series is available, Jordan and Egypt recorded a lower number of departures in 2017 than in 2007: the number of trips fell in both countries from a peak in 2010, with the overall fall between 2007 and 2017 equalling 19 % in Jordan and reaching 23 % in Egypt.
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, 650 trips per 1 000 inhabitants in 2017; 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 880 trips per 1 000 inhabitants in 2017, followed by Jordan with 702 trips per 1 000 inhabitants. These were the only two ENP-South countries (for which recent data are available) to record ratios above the EU-28 average: in Algeria and Egypt the number of outbound trips relative to the population size was much lower, less than one fifth of the EU-28 average.
Source data for tables and graphs
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;|
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.
- International trade in goods for the European neighbourhood policy-South countries — 2018 edition
- Energy and transport statistics for the European neighbourhood policy-South countries — 2018 edition
- Basic figures on the European Neighbourhood Policy — South countries — 2018 edition
- Basic figures on the European Neighbourhood Policy — South countries — 2016 edition
- Labour force statistics for the Mediterranean region — 2016 edition
- Basic figures on the European Neighbourhood Policy — South countries — 2015 edition
- 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)
- Tourism (tour), see:
- Monthly data on tourism industries (tour_indm)
- Annual data on tourism industries (tour_inda)
- Annual data on trips of EU residents (tour_dem)
- Southern European Neighbourhood Policy countries (ENP-South) (med) (ESMS metadata file — med_esms)
- Annual data on trips of EU residents (ESMS metadata file — tour_dem_esms)
- Occupancy of tourist accommodation establishments (ESMS metadata file — tour_occ_esms)
- Methodological manual for tourism statistics — Version 2.1 — 2013 edition
- 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.