In 2018, tourists spent over 1.4 billion nights in the EU 28 plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo. Which countries posted the biggest tourism gains? We analysed data from Eurostat to see which countries grew the most in popularity with international visitors over the past year.
European Countries with the Biggest Tourism Gains (%)
Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Belgium, Latvia, Serbia and Macedonia grew the most in popularity with tourists in 2018 on a percentage basis. While these countries see far fewer visitors in terms of absolute numbers, they showed the largest percentage improvement from 2017.
Each of these countries posted gains of 8% or more in terms of nights spent in each country by tourists. Macedonia was the clear winner, with nonresidents spending 22% more nights in 2018 than 2017. For comparison, EU countries posted gains of 2.2% overall.
2018 European Tourism Winners (% Growth)
|Percentage Change in Nonresident Nights Spent in Tourist Accommodation 2017 to 2018|
European Countries with the Biggest Tourism Gains (number of nights)
France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Croatia, Austria and Greece saw the biggest absolute tourism gains between 2017 and 2018, with France by far seeing the largest increase with 7.7 million additional nights spent by tourists in 2018. In fact, the absolute number of additional visitor nights spent in France was more than 2X the 3.7 million night gain seen in Germany.
2018 European Tourism Winners (Absolute Growth)
|Absolute Change in Nonresident Nights Spent in Tourist Accommodation 2017 to 2018 (millions)|
In order to determine which European countries grew the most in popularity with tourists in 2018, we analysed data from eurostat on the number of nights spent in each country by nonresidents. To better understand the growth seen in each country, we considered two different metrics: absolute change and percentage change.
The absolute change represents the increase (or decrease) in the actual number of nights spent in tourist accommodation between 2017 and 2018. The percentage change represents the percentage increase or decrease in tourist nights from 2017 to 2018—this measure captures impressive growth in countries that might have smaller absolute numbers of tourists. See the table below for the raw data from eurostat, sorted in alphabetical order.
|Nonresident Nights Spent in Tourist Accommodation||Absolute Number of Tourist Nights (millions)||Percentage Change 2017 to 2018||Absolute Change 2017 to 2018|
^ Low reliability
If you're considering travelling to any of these countries, be sure to buy a travel insurance policy as soon as you book, to protect your holiday and your wallet in case something goes wrong.