43% of EU tourists are international visitors

Did you know that the  EU  represents 5.6% of the world’s population and 3.0% of the world’s land area, but although small, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) it received 45.8% of all international tourism arrivals in the world in 2022? The top 10 destination countries worldwide included six EU members (France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Greece and Austria).

Eurostat data indicates that foreign tourists from the EU and extra-EU countries represented 43.0% of all nights spent in EU tourist accommodations in 2022. In 11 out of the 27 EU countries, the dominant flow consisted of foreign tourists.

In three EU countries, international tourists (from the EU and extra-EU countries) accounted for more than 90% of the tourism nights spent: Malta (92%), Croatia and Cyprus (both 91%). The same was recorded in Luxembourg and Greece, where the foreign market accounted for 86% and 84%, respectively, of the tourism nights. In Austria, Slovenia, Portugal and Spain this was between 60% and 70%.

In absolute terms, the highest numbers of international (EU and non-EU countries) tourism nights were recorded in Spain (270 million nights) and Italy (201 million nights), jointly accounting for 40% of all international tourism nights spent at accommodation establishments in the EU.

While a strong attractiveness for foreign tourists boosts a country’s economy and contributes to a better mutual understanding of the country’s people and culture, a high foreign dependency can also make a destination more vulnerable in case of an external shock, such as natural disasters or pandemics affecting international mobility.

EU domestic travellers (travelling within their own country of residence) accounted for 57% of all nights spent in EU tourist accommodations in 2022.

This news article marks World Tourism Day, celebrated every year on 27 September.