Tourism Statistics

Update June 2013

Eurobarometer shows tourism’s economic resilience

On March 6th the European Commission released the results of a Eurobarometer survey on the attitudes of Europeans towards tourism. The results highlighted that:

  • 70% of Europeans travelled in 2012 (the same proportion as in 2011).
  • Of EU holiday makers, as many as 88% spent their vacations somewhere within the EU, either in their own country or in another Member State.
  • The industry's robust and resilient performance is expected to continue in 2013
  • three quarters of respondents to a recent EU survey (75%) are planning to go on holiday this year, although 34% will adapt their holiday plans to take the economic situation into account. Holiday plans for 2013 closely resembled the destinations chosen in 2012. Spain (12%), Italy (8%) and France (7%) are still the most preferred destinations, and 51% plan to take a holiday in their own country.

The document also explores the motivations for going on holiday, how holidays were arranged, holiday satisfaction and the plans for the future.

European Travel Commission publishes first 2013 quarterly Report

The European Travel Commission (ETC) released in May its first 2013 quarterly report on Trends & Prospects. Key highlights of the report are the following:

  • The UN World Tourism Organization expects world tourism to grow on average between 3% and 4% this year.
  • Among the rapidly emerging markets, Chinese tourism is expected to continue soaring in most European destinations, though moving from a low base. Indian tourism demand has remained weaker compared to China in early 2013, but overall continued growth in demand is expected for this year
  • International arrivals and nights to Europe for the first months of 2013 point to a slower but continued growth for most of the reporting destinations.
  • Air transport indicators confirm that tourism demand remains robust from long - haul markets, with travel on European routes growing even at a slightly faster rate moving into 2013.

The report highlights that tourism has the potential to play a key role in economic development and job creation in Europe and worldwide. In the immediate future, marketing and promoting Europe in overseas destinations will fuel rising demand for international travel. To take full advantage of this rising demand the industry needs simpler visa requirements for visitors and a reduced burden of taxation, commented Mr Eduardo Santander, Executive Director of the European Travel Commission. Growth-supporting actions should be taken to maximise tourism contribution to weak economies, especially in Europe’s peripheral areas.

Update April 2013

The European Travel Commission’s latest report on European Tourism in Q4 2012 highlighted the following findings

  • The European travel performance exceeded expectations throughout much of 2012 with growth reported in many established and emerging destinations.
  • The trend has been of a slowdown throughout the year as the economic backdrop has deteriorated.
  • Intra-European travel demand in particular has been more resilient than previously expected given the economic conditions.
  • Developed markets are not turning away from tourism despite economic turmoil.

The report’s predictions for the sector’s health in 2013 are optimistic:

  • Inbound tourism from key long-haul markets is expected to grow in 2013 but the success of the sector in 2013 will depend largely on intra-European travel.
  • ETC expects European destinations to grow on average by 1% to 3% next year but with marked differences across regions.

Update June 2011

The European Parliament and the Council have adopted a new regulation governing tourism statistics. This is on the basis of the text agreed in March this year - see the last newsletter.

As the new measure is a regulation (a form of legislation which is implemented centrally and applies uniformly across Europe), implementation is the responsibility of the Commission and its statistical office, Eurostat. Had it been a directive, it would have been for the member states to transpose the minimum requirements agreed into their own national law. The variations in approach that this could lead to were deemed inconsistent with the need for reliable pan-European tourism statistics.

The first statistics collected under this new regime will be those for 2012 - due for publication in 2013.

April 2011

Representatives of the European Parliament, Council and European Commission have been holding negotiations on the EC's proposal to revise the framework for gathering European tourism statistics. A text was agreed on 9th March and if endorsed by the Parliament as a whole, it is expected to be adopted by the Council without further amendment. No date has yet been set for the vote in the Parliament.

The agreed text is in line with the text supported by the Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN) on 28th February.

The Parliament's rapporteur (and TRAN chairman), Brian Simpson MEP, is broadly in favour of the Commission's proposed legislation. However, he criticised the omission of tourism satellite accounting from the scope, and was unhappy with the provisions for Eurostat, the European Commission's statistical office, to change some essential elements of the legislation (such as definitions, the subjects covered) without the involvement of the Parliament or the Council.

Members of the Transport and Tourism Committee were also keen to see amendments requiring the collection of data on the accessibility of tourist accommodation for people of reduced mobility. These are included in the text agreed on 9th March.

[Tourism satellite accounts integrate tourism statistics and socio-economic indicators to show the effects of tourism on jobs and the economy. They are used in some EU member states and the European Commission's Tourism Unit has previously worked to persuade governments to apply them more widely]

The aim of the new statistical framework is to improve the reliability, accuracy and timeliness of European tourism statistics. The system will continue to rely on member states supplying the basic data, but all countries will have to do so in the same way. This is not the case at present.

One innovation of interest to visitor attractions is the new EU requirement for data on day visits. These are defined as 'same-day visits outside the usual environment by the resident population aged 15 and over'. Collecting data on visits by children under the age of 15 will be optional.

The first statistics collected under this new regime will be those for 2012 - due for publication in 2013.