Travelling

Table of Contents

    Statbel DataLab: new statistics, methods and data sources beta version

    DataLab : increase by a third in domestic trips in July and August

    DataLab
    DataLab : increase by a third in domestic trips in July and August

    As Belgian statistical office, Statbel wants to map the impact of the Covid-19 crisis by providing a first provisional quarterly estimate of trips made by the population. The figures of the first three quarters of 2020 are now available.

    According to this estimate, the number of trips[1] collapses from mid-March due to the lockdown and increases slightly from the second half of May onwards. Belgians made 5 million trips in July and August. This still represents a 29% decrease compared to 2019.

    The following graph allows a comparison of the number of trips by fortnight in 2019 and 2020:

    Voy_Trim3_1_en

    Trips in Belgium were popular

    Not only did we travel less, but also differently. Belgians traditionally prefer to travel abroad in July-August. For example, trips abroad represented 4 out of 5 trips in 2019. From mid-June to mid-July 2020, the number of trips in Belgium was equivalent to that of 2019. However, trips abroad decreased by half. Then, from 15 July onwards, the number of trips in Belgium becomes significantly higher than in the previous year. From July to September, the number of trips to Belgium increased by more than a third.

    Voy_Trim3_2_en

    During the whole period, France was the preferred destination. Almost half of the population that travelled abroad went to France in 2020, compared to 'only' 30% in 2019.

    Main destinations for trips abroad, third quarters of 2019 and 2020

      2019 2020
    France 30.1% 46.8%
    The Netherlands 9.3% 10.1%
    Spain 9.3% 6.4%
    Italy 8.7% 8.4%
    Germany 7.4% 6.9%
    Total trips abroad 100% 100%

    Car is the preferred means of transport

    The car was the means of transport used for 82% of all trips in this third quarter, compared to only 61% in 2019. However, the share of trips made by air travel fell from 29% in 2019 to 12% in 2020.

    Regional differences

    The trends are the same irrespective of the region. Nevertheless, in the third quarter of 2020, the decrease is sharper in Wallonia and Flanders than in Brussels, with 31%, 33% and 19% fewer trips than in 2019 respectively.

    Voy_Trim3_6_en

    Voy_Trim3_4_en

    Voy_Trim3_5_en

    Same-day visits

    Same-day visits were less impacted. They fell by 'only’ 18% in July and August.

    Voy_Trim3_3_en

    Remarks

    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.
    So, we counted the number of trips over fortnightly periods and the number of same-day visits per month during the first three quarters of 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.

    Annexe

    Number of trips by fortnight in 2019 and 2020* by destination (in thousands)

    Fortnight 2019 2020*
    Belgium Abroad Total Belgium Abroad Total
    1-14 January 70 300 370 85 276 361
    15-31 January 117 292 409 144 440 584
    1-14 February 71 353 424 139 434 573
    15-29 February 103 360 463 278 735 1,013
    1-14 March 199 789 989 104 410 515
    15-31 March 202 462 665 15 26 41
    1-14 April 276 965 1,241   5 5
    15-30 April 255 647 902 3   3
    1-14 May 108 503 611 7 7 15
    15-31 May 241 882 1,124 56 13 69
    1-14 June 310 584 894 70 51 120
    15-30 June 262 809 1,071 230 328 558
    1-14 July 403,420 1,571 1,974 428 789 1,217
    15-31 July 343,136 1,795 2,139 587 1,106 1,693
    1-14 August 309,627 1,090 1,400 424 633 1,057
    15-31 August 352,969 1,174 1,527 451 614 1,065
    1-14 September 176,087 724 900 279 284 562
    15-30 September 169,506 544 714 229 151 379
    *2020: provisional estimate based on an experimental methodology - Statbel


    [1] The data presented here refer to trips of at least one night.