LIVE from Brussels

International tourism trends in EU28 member states. Current situation and forecasts for 2020-2025-2030


Key results

  • International tourist arrivals to destinations of the EU-28 are expected to grow by 2.1% a year on average until 2025, compared with an average of 2.4% in the period 1995-2010.
  • Worldwide international arrivals will grow by 3.5% a year on average through 2025.
  • At the projected rate of growth, international tourist arrivals in the EU-28 will surpass half a billion by 2023, reaching 520 million in 2025, up from the 380 million of 2010. By 2030 the number is expected to have reached 557 million.
  • The seven emerging economy destinations in the EU-28 (Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania) are expected to grow faster, at 3.7% a year on average through 2025, than the 21 advanced economy destinations (1.9% a year). As the advanced economies are growing from a much larger base, in absolute term they are expected to increase by 7 million a year to 449 million in 2025. The emerging economies will increase arrivals by 2 million a year, reaching 71 million in 2025.
  • By subregion, EU-28 destinations in Central and Eastern Europe are expected to grow fastest at 3.4% a year on average through 2025.
  • Air transport has increasingly become the mode of transport favoured for international travel. While in the 1980s and 1990s the majority of trips were by surface travel – by road, rail or over water –, more than half of all international travellers have arrived by air since the mid 2000s. In the period 1980- 2010, travel by air outgrew surface travel by a considerable margin, growing respectively at an average rate of 5.2% a year versus 3.4% a year. As a result, the share of air transport increased from 38% of international arrivals worldwide in 1980 to 51% in 2010. Over this period air transport has clearly gained share in Europe, the Americas and the Middle East. Even though the number of air travellers has grown in all regions, surface travel has grown at a faster rate in Asia and the Pacific and in Africa and thus increased share.The highest share of arrivals by air is found in the Middle East (59% in 2010), followed by the Americas (58%), Asia and the Pacific (57%) and Africa (50%). In Europe with its many comparatively small countries with good infrastructure for surface travel by car, coach or train, surface travel is still the dominant mode of travel with a 54% share in 2010, versus 46% for air travel.
  • The majority of international arrivals in EU-28 destinations were for the purpose of leisure, recreation and holidays (59%) in 2010, while 16% were for business and 25% for visiting friends and relatives (VFR), health, religion or other.
  • A large portion of the new arrivals in the two decades 2010-2030 will originate from emerging economy source markets in Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Eastern Mediterranean Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Europe overall remains the largest outbound region with travel expected to increase by 2.7% a year on average to 834 million in 2025.
  • As other less mature regions in the world, in particular Asia and the Pacific, are growing at a faster pace both in terms of inbound and outbound tourism, the share of EU-28 destinations in the world has been decreasing gradually since 1980. By 2025 about one third of international arrivals will be in one of the EU-28 destinations (33%), down from 40% in 2010 and 56% in 1980.

For more findings, please consult the report.