Canary Islands tops list of popular tourist regions in the EU

EU tourists are more likely to choose the States and Turkey as their destination outside the European Union

The Spanish island region of the Canarias remained the most popular tourist region in the EU, with 94.0 million overnight stays in 2015. Three further Spanish regions also featured among the top ten destinations: Cataluña (75.5 million nights), the Illes Balears (65.2 million nights) and Andalucía (61.4 million nights).

France had three of its regions in the top 10: the capital region of Île-de-France (ranked second with 76.8 million nights), Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (54.6 million nights) and Rhône-Alpes (48.7 million nights).

The Croatian region of Jadranska Hrvatska (68.1 million nights), the Italian region of Veneto (63.3 million nights) and Inner London in the United Kingdom (44.8 million nights in 2012) featured also among the main EU regional tourism destinations.

Data published by Eurostat shows that 90% of tourism nights in the EU are spent by EU residents, meaning that tourists from outside the EU account for only around 10% of the total. And when travelling, EU residents spent almost 85% of their tourism nights within the EU, with only just over 15% in extra-EU destinations.

While several regions of Spain, Italy and France are among the most favored by tourists in the EU, the United States and Turkey appear to be the top destinations – in terms of nights spent – of EU residents when they travel outside the EU.

Among the top 30 tourist regions in 2015 in terms of overnight stays, six each were located in Spain (Canarias, Cataluña, Illes Balears, Andalucía, Communidad Valenciana and Communidad de Madrid), France (Île-de-France, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Rhône-Alpes, Languedoc-Roussillon, Aquitaine and Bretagne) and Italy (Veneto, Toscana, Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio and Provincia autonoma di Bolzano/Bozen).

Furthermore, four of the top 30 EU tourist regions were in Germany (Oberbayern, Berlin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein), two each in Greece (Notio Aigaio and Kriti) and Austria (Tirol and Salzburg), and one each in Ireland (Southern and Eastern), Croatia (Jadranska Hrvatska), the Netherlands (Noord-Holland) and the United Kingdom (Inner London).

Extra-EU tourism more common for British and Estonian residents

In 2015, more than 1 out of every 4 tourism nights was spent outside the EU by residents of the United Kingdom (28.4% in 2013) and Estonia (27.9%). They were followed by those of Belgium (23.1%), Croatia (20.5%), Lithuania and Austria (both 20.3%) as well as Luxembourg (20.2%).

 In contrast, less than 1 out of every 10 tourism nights was spent outside the EU by residents of Romania (1.0%), Greece (5.6%), the Czech Republic (6.2%), Portugal (7.0%), France (7.1%), Bulgaria (7.7%), Spain (8.0%), Poland (8.1%) and Slovakia (9.7%). On average, 15.4% of all tourism nights of EU residents were spent in non-EU countries.

The US and Turkey account together for a quarter of extra-EU tourism nights

At EU level, the United States remained the main destination of EU tourists travelling outside the EU in 2015, accounting for 13.8% of all nights spent by EU residents in the rest of the world. In particular, the United States was the top extra-EU destination for residents of Ireland, France, Luxembourg, Hungary, Poland, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The second most common extra-EU destination for EU residents was Turkey (10.4% of all tourism nights spent outside the EU), the top destination for residents of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Romania. Morocco (4.6%) completed the top 3 extra-EU destinations of EU tourists in 2015. It was the top destination for residents of Belgium and Spain.

More in Travel