Tourism statistics - expenditure
Data extracted in May 2018.
Planned article update: July 2019.
In 2016 EU residents spent an estimated EUR 428 billion on tourism trips, mostly on trips abroad (55 %).
EU residents spent 84 % of their tourism expenditure on trips inside Europe (79 % 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 2016. 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 28% of EU tourism expenditure
In 2016, EU residents spent an estimated EUR 428 billion on tourism trips (see Table 1). Of this, they spent 45 % on trips in their country of residence (domestic tourism) and 55 % on trips abroad (outbound tourism) (see Table 2).
For each tourism trip, Europeans spent on average EUR 355. Broken down by destination, they spent EUR 215 on average on a domestic trip and EUR 762 on an outbound trip. The average spent per night was EUR 70 (EUR 55 on average for each domestic tourism night and EUR 91 a night on average for trips abroad).
German, French and British tourists were the biggest spenders in absolute terms. Their expenditure accounted for 59 % 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 (51 %) or overnight stays (54 %) - see the article on the characteristics of tourism trips.
Per trip, tourists from Luxembourg spent the most (EUR 811), followed by Maltese (EUR 655) and Austrian tourists (EUR 618). Domestic tourism expenditure per trip was highest in Luxembourg (EUR 538), followed by Austria (EUR 373). The biggest spenders per outbound tourism trip were French (EUR 1 017) and Cypriot (EUR 990) tourists.
Residents of Austria (EUR 131), Malta (EUR 124), Denmark and Luxembourg (both at EUR 120), Ireland (EUR 108) and Finland (EUR 102) spent at least EUR 100 per night on average during their tourism trips.
In seven of the 28 countries, residents spent more than half of the tourism expenditure during 2016 on domestic trips. The highest share for domestic expenditure was observed for Romania (82 %), Greece (76 %), Spain and Italy (both at 67 %), followed by France and Portugal (both at 66 %) and Bulgaria (61 %). For the majority of the countries, however, most of the tourism expenditure occurred in foreign destinations with the residents of Luxembourg (99 %), Belgium (93 %) and Malta (91 %) 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: 71 %). Only in the case of Sweden tourism expenditure for short trips of one to three nights was higher than for long trips. IIn Finland, Denmark and Estonia, 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, 79 % was on trips to a destination inside the EU
In 2016, intra-EU tourism accounted for 94 % of all tourism trips (74 % of which were domestic trips and 20 % trips to another Member State). In terms of expenditure, however, domestic trips accounted for 45 % of total tourism expenditure (see figure 1), all EU destinations (including domestic) for 79 % and destinations outside the EU for 21 % (compared with only 6 % of the number of tourism trips).
Europeans travelling to foreign continents spent most on trips to America (7 % of total expenditure by EU residents on tourism trips), closely followed by Asia (6 %), then Africa (2 %) and Oceania (1 %). European destinations outside the EU accounted for around 5 % 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 (+5 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 558 (as compared to the overall average of EUR 355), while trips spent at an own holiday home cost EUR 178 on average and those spent at accommodation provided free of charge by friends or relatives cost EUR 152.
For trips where the main means of accommodation was rented accommodation, the average expenditure per night on accommodation was EUR 45 – ranging from EUR 22 per night for trips spent mainly at campsites to EUR 57 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 (26 %) than tourism trips in 2016 (30 %). On average they spent EUR 277 (15-24 years old) and EUR 329 (25-34 years old) per trip (see Figure 5 and Figure 6). All other (and older) age groups spent EUR 375 on average per trip, while tourists aged from 45 to 54 years spent the most (EUR 401).
Business travel accounted for 16 % of total tourism expenditure in 2016
Holiday, leisure and recreation trips accounted for the majority of tourism expenditure (64 %) in 2016 (see Figure 7). Visits to relatives and friends accounted for only 16 % of all tourism expenditure but they represented 36 % 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 164 compared to the overall average of EUR 355) (see Figure 8).
At EUR 507, business trips recorded the highest average expenditure per trip while the expenditure per night (see Figure 9) was 2.4 times higher for business trips than for trips for personal purposes (EUR 150 per night versus EUR 63 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 ususal 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.
- 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.