US and Russia account for a third of all non-EU tourism nights in the EU
In the European Union (EU), tourism is above all an internal affair. Nearly 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.
Nevertheless, more than 300 million nights were spent in the EU by non-EU visitors in tourist accommodation in 2014. With 17.8% and 14.9% respectively of all nights spent by non-EU tourists in the EU in 2014, tourists from the United States and Russia were the main visitors from outside the EU, while those from China (5.0%), Japan (3.7%) and Brazil (2.5%) each represented less than 5% of nights spent by non-EU tourists. Over the past decade, the EU has grown as a tourist destination. Compared with 2005, extra-EU tourism in the EU increased by 75% in 2014, particularly driven by a boom in the number of nights spent by tourists from China (+282%), Russia (+248%) and Brazil (+215%), while the growth has been more moderate for tourists from the United States (+13%) and a decrease was registered for those from Japan (-11%).
Accounting for 17.5% of all nights spent, Italy was in 2014 the main destination of non-EU visitors coming to the EU, followed by the United Kingdom (13.9%), Spain (13.5%), and France (12.2%). For Russian visitors, the top EU tourist destinations were Spain (18.4%), Greece (15.2%) and Italy (13.9%).
Tourists from outside the EU were particularly important for Cyprus (40.3% of all nights spent in tourist accommodation), Latvia (31.2%), Bulgaria (26.9%), Lithuania (24.2%), Greece (24.0%) and the Czech Republic (21.2%). In contrast, this share was below 10% in Poland (5.7%), Romania (6.7%), the Netherlands (6.8%), Germany (8.1%), Slovakia (8.6%), Belgium (9.8%) and France (9.9%).
The respective shares of US, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian visitors in EU tourism activity are very different from one Member State to another. Russian tourists represented a very significant share of non-EU tourism activity in Cyprus (72.8%), Estonia (57.6%), Latvia (48.4%) and Finland (45.8%), while for Chinese tourists the highest shares were recorded in Luxembourg (13.8%), the United Kingdom (7.5%), France (7.2%), Belgium (6.9%) and Germany (6.7%).
Yury Mishchenko, graduated from Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages, has more than 15 years experience in tourism and travel. Working both in tour operator company as destination manager, and in travel agency as sales manager, he is focused on analysis of Russian tour operators’ daily routine. Recently, Yury works in Baginet Marketing and Sales Agency.