EU tourism industry expects a new record year in 2014

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, went to Berlin, where he participated in the 17th Tourism Summit (Tourismusgipfel). In his speech, the President reminded of the mutually beneficial effects of tourism and European integration, and underlined in particular the importance of the four freedoms of the Single Market for a flourishing tourism sector. (EC Audiovisual Services, 2/12/2013).

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, went to Berlin, where he participated in the 17th Tourism Summit (Tourismusgipfel). In his speech, the President reminded of the mutually beneficial effects of tourism and European integration, and underlined in particular the importance of the four freedoms of the Single Market for a flourishing tourism sector. (EC Audiovisual Services, 2/12/2013).

According to a Eurobarometer survey published earlier today, the prospects of the European tourism industry for the 2014 season are ‘robust and resilient’. More people than in 2013 choose to spend holidays outside of their own country but within the EU. Only 11% of Europeans will not go away for a holiday this year. More than 84% of the respondents will take their vacation within the EU. In ten EU member states, more than 50% of people intend to spend their holiday in their own country and understandably this percentage skyrockets to 84% when it comes to Greeks. Let’s follow the numbers.

After an all-time best season in 2013, European tourism seems to prepare for another record year. According to Eurostat, this sector of economic activities marked a record performance in 2013. The total of nights spent in tourist accommodation establishments in all 28 EU Member States, increased in 2013 compared to 2012, by 1.6% to an all-time best of 2.6 billion nights spent. However there are marked differences between member states.

The proportion of people who intend to go this year on a holiday without changing their plans due to economic reasons ranges from 75% in Austria to 10% in Greece. Meaning, that 90% of Greeks who plan to take a vacation, are substantially affected by the economic crisis. In 12 countries, at least 50% of the respondents who did not go on holiday in 2013 gave financial reasons as an explanation, with particularly high proportions in Greece (74%), Cyprus (69%), Bulgaria (66%) and Serbia (66%).

Europe excels in quality

Coming to quality, European tourism comes atop. According to this new Eurobarometer survey, “Tourists in Europe feel safe and very satisfied. Respondents express a high level of satisfaction with most aspects of their 2013 holiday”. Almost all respondents were satisfied with the safety (95%) and the quality (95%) of their accommodation. Eurobarometer found that “Only 4% of all respondents who travelled at least once in 2013 registered a formal complaint during their holiday. Most formal complaints concerned the accommodation (41%), followed by transport (22%), restaurants (17%) and leisure activities (8%)”.

It’s revealing that the Internet was the main method used to arrange a holidays in 2013 in 27 of the 28 EU Member States – the exception being Croatia – and in four of the seven non-EU countries covered by the survey, the exceptions being Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia. It’s very interesting to note that the number of people using the Internet as their main method to arrange a vacation, increases very fast. Eurobarometer says that, “For those people who travelled at least once in 2013 for a minimum of four nights, the Internet (58%) was by far the most common way of organising a holiday, with an increase of +5 percentage points compared with the previous year”.

It’s always the ‘sun and the beach’

Finally, the ‘sun and the beach’ remains, as always, the main reason for Europeans to take a vacation. Actually, the percentage of people citing this motive increased substantially in 2013. The Eurobarometer survey states that, “Spending time in the sun or at the beach was once again the most popular reason for going on holiday in 2013, mentioned by nearly half (46%, +6 since last year’s survey) of respondents who travelled at least once for a minimum of four nights. About a third (34%, -2) mentioned visiting family/friends/relatives as one of their main reasons.


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