The EU received 45.8 per cent of all international tourism arrivals in the world in 2022, Eurostat reports, even though it represents just 5.6% of the world’s population and 3.0% of the world’s land area. The figures, given by the UN World Tourism Organisation on World Tourism Day, also shows that 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.