How did the economic crisis hit tourism?


© zeljkodan /

Overall, the economic crisis of the past decade did not strongly affect tourism in the European Union (EU). However, tourism has developed very differently depending on whether the trips were made for personal or professional purposes.

Between 2007 and 2015, the number of trips made by EU tourists for personal purposes (leisure, holidays or visiting friends and relatives) remained roughly stable at around 1 billion trips per year. On the other hand, the number of business trips declined, possibly because of a reduction in travel budgets and because more sustainable, time and cost efficient means of communicating are now widespread. Between 2007 and 2015, the number of business trips dropped by 40% (or -6.3% on average per year), from 206 million in 2007 to 123 million in 2015.

This news item marks World Tourism Day.

Evolution in the number of trips of EU residents by purpose, 2007-2015


Different purposes, different timings

The travel seasons differ according to the reason for travelling. EU residents travel as tourists mainly in July and August, with a quarter of all annual trips made for personal purposes carried out in these two months. The popularity for taking holidays in July and August is highest for Greek tourists (accounting for over half of their annual trips) and lowest for Germans (19.9%). From the 28 EU Member States, only Croatian residents prefer to travel for personal purpose in June.

On the other hand, business trips take place mainly in March and June, closely followed by September and November.


For more information:

Eurostat website section dedicated to tourism statistics

Eurostat database on tourism

Eurostat set of Statistics Explained articles on tourism trips of Europeans

Eurostat infographic on origins and destinations of tourists in the EU