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Record level of tourism in European Union

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

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The European Union attracted a record number of tourists in 2014. The EU is a major tourist destination, with five Member States among the world’s top ten destinations for holidaymakers, according to UNWTO data.

In 2014, the number of nights spent in tourist accommodation establishments in the EU is expected to have reached a new peak of around 2.7 billion nights, up by 1.7% compared with 2013. Following the decline observed in 2009 with the beginning of the financial crisis, there has been a steady increase in the number of nights spent in tourist accommodation establishments in the EU over the last 5 years. This pattern can be observed for nights spent by both residents and non-residents. In 2014, France (403 million nights, -1.2% compared with 2013) and Spain (401 million, +3.1%) continued to be the top 2 Member States in terms of tourism nights, followed by Italy (370 million, -1.8%) and Germany (366 million, +2.9%).

These estimates, which include nights spent whether for business or leisure, come from a publication issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Highest growth in total tourism nights in Latvia, Belgium, Portugal and Greece

The number of nights spent in tourist accommodation establishments in 2014 grew in the majority of Member States for which data are available, with the largest increases being observed in Latvia (+11.1%), Belgium (+7.2%), Portugal (+7.1%) and Greece (+6.9%). In contrast, the largest falls were recorded in Slovakia (-5.5%), Finland (-1.9%) and Italy (-1.8%).

Spain accounts for 21% of the non-resident demand in the EU

After the two Mediterranean island Member States, Malta (96%) and Cyprus (94%), the highest shares of nights spent by non-residents were registered in 2014 in Croatia (92%), Luxembourg (88%) and Greece (79%), and the lowest in Romania (18%), Poland (19%) and Germany (20%).

In the EU, the number of nights spent in tourist accommodation establishments by non-residents grew faster (+2.3%) between 2013 and 2014 that those spent by residents (+1.1%). In 2014, the largest increases in nights spent by non-residents were observed in the Netherlands (+10.2%), Latvia (+9.9%), Denmark, Portugal and Romania (all +8.3%) and Greece (+8.0%), and by residents in Latvia (+13.9%), Malta (+11.2%), Hungary (+8.2%) and Belgium (+8.1%).

In absolute figures, Spain (260 million nights, or 21% of the total of nights spent by non-residents in the EU) and Italy (184 million, or 15%) recorded the highest number of nights spent by non-residents in their tourism accommodation establishments.

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