Tourism trips - introduction and key figures

Data extracted in May 2018.

Planned article update: July 2019.

The average length of a trip for an EU resident in 2016 was 5.1 nights.
Three quarters of trips by EU residents in 2016 were within their own country.
On average EUR 355 was spent per trip by EU residents in 2016.

Tourism infographic 2016.png Click on the image for an interactive view of the data

Tourism trips of Europeans is a Eurostat online publication providing recent statistics on tourism demand in the European Union (EU) and EFTA countries. It discusses residents' patterns of tourism and the trips they made, and takes a close look at tourists' socio-demographic characteristics (such as age and gender) and characteristics of the trips, such as destination, means of transport and accommodation, purpose and expenditure.

Full article

On line publication

Regulation 692/2011 of 6 July 2011 concerning European statistics on tourism aims at harmonising these statistics in order to compile comparable data for the European Union. The national statistical authorities collect – usually via sample surveys – a wide range of information on domestic and outbound trips made by residents of their country.

With the entry into force of the Regulation, Member States are now transmitting microdata to Eurostat, which enables that data to be disseminated far more widely and allows for more focused, deeper analyses than was the case before the reference year 2012. The different variables and breakdowns can now be combined in a more flexible way and the microdata set also allows estimates on intra-European inbound tourism flows (providing that sample sizes in the countries of origin are sufficiently large).

Different aspects of tourism demand are dealt with in a set of detailed articles:

Main findings

In 2016, EU residents aged 15 and over made 1 207 million tourism trips (see Table 1) with an average length of approximately 5.1 overnight stays per trip. In all, 58 % of these trips were short trips of one to three overnight stays, while 42 % were trips of four nights or more. Europeans tend to go more often on holidays in the country where they live. Three out of four trips were domestic, where they spent on average 3.9 nights. Only one in four trips was out of their country of residence but the length of stay was longer (8.4 nights on average).

In terms of expenditure, long outbound trips take up the biggest share (47.1 %) of the estimated EUR 428 198 million expenditure on tourism trips. Expenditure (per individual) on a tourism trip was on average EUR 355, while expenditure per night was EUR 70 (ranging from EUR 43 per night on long domestic trips to EUR 177 per night on short outbound trips).

Table 1: Key figures of trips of EU residents aged 15 and over, EU-28, 2016 - Source: Eurostat (tour_dem_tttot), (tour_dem_tntot), (tour_dem_extot)

Data sources

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 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.


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 has the potential to contribute towards employment and economic growth, as well as to development in rural, peripheral or less-developed areas. These characteristics drive the demand for reliable and harmonised statistics within this field, as well as within the wider context of regional policy and sustainable development policy areas.

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Annual data on trips of EU residents (t_tour_dem)

Annual data on trips of EU residents (tour_dem)