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Outbound tourism in European countries - statistics & facts

Outbound tourism refers to the act of traveling outside of an individual’s home country for the purpose of tourism and vacation. European outbound tourism is a key component of the travel and tourism industry in Europe and an important market for tourist destinations worldwide. In fact, Europe had the highest number of outbound travelers of all global regions in 2019. That year, there were over 702 million international tourist arrivals worldwide who originated from Europe. Though the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic led to a reduction in global travel in 2020, Europe was estimated to have the smallest drop in outbound tourism visitor growth worldwide that year. In 2021, outbound tourism from Europe was expected to grow again at the same rate as the Americas, though less than half as fast as outbound tourism from the Asia Pacific region.

Leading countries in Europe for outbound tourism

In 2019, Germany ranked as the biggest market for outbound European travel, with German travelers taking a total of 99.5 million trips abroad. The expenditure on outbound European trips followed similar trends that year, with German travelers spending the most on outbound tourism. German tourists spent 99.5 million euros on outbound trips in 2019, while French travelers ranked second with an outbound expenditure of roughly 30 million euros. Leading holiday destinations of German travelers in this time period included Spain, Italy, and the Baltic Sea, with the Baltic Sea being the most popular destination in 2020.

Outbound tourism in Europe during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

As international travel was severely limited during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many European travelers turned to domestic trips rather than traveling abroad. As the travel market recovers from the pandemic, many European travelers are again planning outbound vacations. In a survey taken in February 2021 that asked where Europeans planned to travel in the next six months, about 41 percent of respondents indicated that they intended to travel to another European country, while just around 13 percent planned to travel outside of Europe in the next six months. From within Europe, the preferred destinations for European travelers’ next trips were Spain and Italy, according to the same survey.

Overall, some regions within Europe are forecast to produce more outbound tourists than others as travel restrictions are eased. One factor that could influence this post-pandemic growth is the introduction of COVID-19 travel passports to reduce the risk of international travel during the pandemic. When looking at the outbound visitor growth by European region, outbound tourists from Central and Eastern Europe were forecast to have the highest growth in 2021. Tourists from Western Europe were forecast to have the lowest growth rate that year, though all European regions were expected to show growth overall.

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Outbound trips

Destinations

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Outbound tourism in European countries - statistics & facts

Outbound tourism refers to the act of traveling outside of an individual’s home country for the purpose of tourism and vacation. European outbound tourism is a key component of the travel and tourism industry in Europe and an important market for tourist destinations worldwide. In fact, Europe had the highest number of outbound travelers of all global regions in 2019. That year, there were over 702 million international tourist arrivals worldwide who originated from Europe. Though the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic led to a reduction in global travel in 2020, Europe was estimated to have the smallest drop in outbound tourism visitor growth worldwide that year. In 2021, outbound tourism from Europe was expected to grow again at the same rate as the Americas, though less than half as fast as outbound tourism from the Asia Pacific region.

Leading countries in Europe for outbound tourism

In 2019, Germany ranked as the biggest market for outbound European travel, with German travelers taking a total of 99.5 million trips abroad. The expenditure on outbound European trips followed similar trends that year, with German travelers spending the most on outbound tourism. German tourists spent 99.5 million euros on outbound trips in 2019, while French travelers ranked second with an outbound expenditure of roughly 30 million euros. Leading holiday destinations of German travelers in this time period included Spain, Italy, and the Baltic Sea, with the Baltic Sea being the most popular destination in 2020.

Outbound tourism in Europe during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

As international travel was severely limited during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many European travelers turned to domestic trips rather than traveling abroad. As the travel market recovers from the pandemic, many European travelers are again planning outbound vacations. In a survey taken in February 2021 that asked where Europeans planned to travel in the next six months, about 41 percent of respondents indicated that they intended to travel to another European country, while just around 13 percent planned to travel outside of Europe in the next six months. From within Europe, the preferred destinations for European travelers’ next trips were Spain and Italy, according to the same survey.

Overall, some regions within Europe are forecast to produce more outbound tourists than others as travel restrictions are eased. One factor that could influence this post-pandemic growth is the introduction of COVID-19 travel passports to reduce the risk of international travel during the pandemic. When looking at the outbound visitor growth by European region, outbound tourists from Central and Eastern Europe were forecast to have the highest growth in 2021. Tourists from Western Europe were forecast to have the lowest growth rate that year, though all European regions were expected to show growth overall.

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