The number of international tourists arriving in Europe has been steadily increasing since the nineties, reaching over 670 million arrivals by 2017. The southern/Mediterranean region of Europe is the most popular destination region in terms of international arrivals, followed by Western Europe. However, forecasts for inbound visitor numbers suggest that growth in central and Eastern European nations will be stronger than other regions in 2019 and 2020.
France and Spain are two of the leading travel destinations in Europe. Both countries also led in the 2017 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index, meaning their policies on tourism and sustainable development enable them to effectively compete in the industry.
Although EU residents participate in tourism in other European countries and destinations around the world, domestic tourism is also an important sector of the European travel market; 23 percent of EU residents only traveled domestically in 2015, compared to 15 percent taking only outbound trips. In total, overnight domestic trips in European Union member states totaled 880 million in the same year.