As Belgian statistical office, Statbel wants to map the impact of the Covid-19 crisis by providing fast a first provisional estimate of business and holiday trips made by the population. The figures for the four quarters of 2020 are now available. Final figures will be available this summer.
According to this estimate, the number of trips collapses from mid-March due to the lockdown and increases slightly from the second half of May onwards. Belgians even made 5 million trips in July and August, but this still represents a 28% decrease compared to July and August 2019.
The second lockdown resulted in a new sharp decrease in the number of trips in the fourth quarter. In this period, 1.2 millions trips were made, i.e. a 76% decrease compared to the same period in 2019.
The following chart makes it possible to compare the number of trips in 2019 and 2020 per half-month.
Christmas holidays in own country
The few trips made by Belgians had mainly a domestic destination, 62% chose to stay in Belgium. In 2019, three quarters of trips at the end of the year still involved cross-border travel, while in December 2020, there were 88% fewer trips abroad than in the previous year.
Far fewer business trips
Far fewer business trips
The decrease in the number of business trips is sharper than that of holiday trips or other personal trips. The number of these trips was in the last quarter of 2020 83% lower than in the same period of the previous year.
Same-day visits abroad
Also for excursions abroad we note in the fourth quarter a very sharp decrease: -80% compared to 2019.
Every year, the Belgian population is asked about its tourist and business trips. Each quarter, a sample of people is drawn to complete a questionnaire on the trips made in the last three months. This survey is designed to have valid results over the whole year. But 2020 being a very special year because of the restrictions on freedom to travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we wanted to present figures that make it possible to follow the evolution over time of the number of trips.
Therefore, we counted the number of trips over fortnightly periods and the number of same-day visits per month in 2020.
From a methodological point of view, these provisional results of the travel survey for the year 2020 are experimental because the reference population used for extrapolation is not the one that will be used in the final results with all household responses. Therefore, there can be some minor differences between experimental and official publications.
Number of trips by fortnight in 2019 and 2020* by destination (in thousands)
|*2020: provisional estimate based on an experimental methodology - Statbel|
 ] The data presented here refer to trips of at least one night.