The FINANCIAL — A clear seasonal pattern on tourism activity of residents of the European Union (EU) can be observed. The summer season (June-September) accounts for more than half (51.9%) of the total number of tourism nights spent by EU residents during the whole year. A little more than 60% of these nights were spent in their own country (domestic), while almost 40% of summer season tourism nights were spent abroad (outbound).
July (16.1%) and August (17.2%) are the two months when EU residents spent most tourism nights during the year, according to EU.
When looking at age groups, more than a third of all tourism nights for residents aged 15-29 (36%) and 30-64 (35%) are spent during July and August, while this share fell to around a quarter (27%) for residents aged 65 and over, who preferred to spread their holidays more evenly throughout the year.
Residents of Italy spent three quarters of their tourism nights during the summer
For residents of a majority of EU Member States, the summer season represents more than half of all annual tourism nights. Among the noticeable exceptions are Malta (41.4% of tourism nights of residents spent during the summer season), Finland (42.8%), Denmark (44.4%), Romania (44.9%), the United Kingdom (45.7%), Germany (46.3%) and Estonia (46.8%). Accounting for almost three-quarters of all nights spent during the year, the summer season is particularly prominent for residents of Italy (74.0%) and Greece (72.2%), followed by those of Slovakia (67.3%) and Slovenia (62.1%).
Residents of Greece and Spain on top for domestic tourism during the summer
Although on average in the EU domestic tourism prevails, the pattern is very different across Member States. The largest proportions of nights spent by residents in their own country are registered for Greece (89.7% of all summer tourism nights), Spain (87.3%), Romania (86.6%), Bulgaria (84.7%), France and Portugal (both 82.8%). In contrast, the highest shares of summer tourism nights spent abroad are recorded for residents of Luxembourg (99.2% of all summer tourism nights), Belgium (88.3%) and Malta (86.7%).
July and August, peak tourism months in all EU Member States except Lithuania
August is the leading month of departure for residents of a narrow majority of EU Member States, just ahead of July. In particular, August has a notable share in both Italy (32.7%) and Greece (31.3%), while it is smallest in Denmark (8.6%) and Finland (8.8%). Five EU Member States show no significant difference (less than 1 percentage point) between July and August: France, Croatia, Lithuania, Malta and Austria.
The share of July varies across Member States from just over 10% in Romania (10.4%) and the United Kingdom (10.6%), to more than 25% in Slovenia (25.4%), Greece (26.2%) and Italy (27.4%).
Differences across Member States are less significant in June, all around 10%, while September accounts for less than 10% of annual tourism nights for residents of every EU Member State, except Lithuania (13.4%), the United Kingdom (12.2%), Cyprus (10.6%) and Germany (10.2%). Lithuania is the only EU Member State for which neither July nor August, but September is the peak month for overnight stays of its residents.
Extended summer season for EU residents aged 65 and over
A significant tourist peak can be observed during the summer season for EU residents aged 15-29 as well as for those aged 30-64, July and August being for them the two months which have by far the highest number of tourism nights spent during the year. This pattern is however less significant for EU residents aged 65 and over. Though July is the peak month for this age group, EU residents aged 65 and over spend slightly more tourism nights during June than in August and September still accounts for a significant share.