Where and How Europeans Choose to Travel


Skift Take

The data suggests that European destinations need to not only focus on other regions, but also their neighbors as competition for tourists and their dollars continues to rise.

— Samantha Shankman

Despite having more than a dozen top destinations with a few hours’ drive or flight, most Europeans choose to stay close to home when traveling.

The majority, or 76 percent, of Europeans’ trips are domestic and those that cross borders tend to visit neighboring or nearby countries as their top destinations.

Of the 24 percent of trips taken outside of Europeans’ home country in 2012, 85 percent remained in Europe, according to new data from European Union’s statistics office Eurostat. For those who left their country, the top three outbound destinations were – unsurprisingly – Spain, France, and Italy.

After Europe, the most popular destinations for EU residents were Asia (4.5%), Africa (4.1%), North America (3.8%) and Central and South America (1.9%).

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People already living in popular European vacation destinations are also more likely to stay at home.

For example, 92 percent of trips taken by Spaniards and Greeks are within their own countries. On the other hand, small countries like Luxembourg (97%) and Malta (60%) have the largest proportions of trips abroad.

Given the large share of domestic and relatively short international trips, it’s not surprising to find that cars overwhelmingly are the preferred mode of travel.

Sixty-five percent of trips made by EU residents in 2012 were taken in a car. In comparison, 15 percent of trips were taken by plane, 12 percent were taken by train, and 6 percent were taken by bus.

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