Survey on holidays and travels

Belgians spent 26.3% less if they did travel in 2020

Households
Belgians spent 26.3% less if they did travel in 2020

In the corona year 2020, Belgians made 11.4 million trips, a decrease of just under 50% compared to 2019.
Belgians travelled not only less, but also less far: the average distance of a trip, 720 km, was over 300 km shorter than in previous years. In 2020, 72% travelled by car and only 18% by plane, whereas in previous years the figure was around 60% for the car and 30% for the plane.

Less than half of the fellow Belgians (46%) made a trip with at least one overnight stay. In 2019, this figure was still 70%. 34% took a trip abroad (64% in 2019).

The main reason for not travelling was the government's recommendations: 57% of the countrymen who stayed at home gave this as the main reason for not travelling. Financial reasons were important for some population groups: single-parent families (47%) and unemployed people (40%) stayed at home for lack of money.

G-Trav2020_en

The number of trips abroad in 2020 was 59% lower than in the previous year and the number of overnight stays halved. Domestic trips decreased by 20%, but the number of overnight stays in our country only decreased by 6.5%. In the Ardennes in particular, the number of overnight stays was 30% higher than in 2019 (5.9 million): people clearly opted more for longer trips in the south of the country.

Travel budget

Belgians also spent a lot less than in 2019: the average expenditure per trip decreased by 150 euros, which is 26.3% less than the year before. Belgians spent about 24% of the budget on transport costs, almost 41% on accommodation expenses and about 24% on meals. About 10% other expenses complete the picture.

The average expenditure per day was even 33% lower than in 2019; Belgians spent €28 less per day.

  2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Number of trips (in millions) 19.6 18.6 20.5 22.7 11.4
Number of overnight stays (in millions) 136.6 123.6 147.4 152.7 84.0
Number of domestic trips (in millions) 3.8 4.0 4.9 5.4 4.3
Number of domestic overnight stays (in millions) 15.5 13.7 19.9 18.6 17.4
Number of trips abroad (in millions) 15.8 14.6 15.6 17.3 7.1
Number of overnight stays abroad (in millions) 121.2 109.9 127.4 134.1 66.5
Share of car 59.4% 58.5% 59.0% 58.8% 71.9%
Share of aeroplane 28.8% 30.8% 29.3% 29.8% 17.8%
Share of other means of transportation 11.8% 10.6% 11.7% 11.4% 10.2%
Average expenditure per trip (€) 590 540 550 570 420
Average expenditure per day (€) 85 81 76 84 56
average distance (km) 1,020 1,030 1,040 1,050 720
participation rate - 66.0% 68.8% 69.6% 45.6%
participation rate (abroad) - 58.9% 61.4% 63.9% 33.9%
Table
Content

Number of travels by destination, duration and motif, 2020 (in milliers)

Destination Trips of 1 to 3 nights Trips of 4 nights or more
Holidays Professional trip Total Holidays Professional trip Total
Total 4,350 350 4,700 6,530 160 6,690
European Union 4,250 270 4,520 5,820 110 5,930
Belgium 2,650 60 2,700 1,570 10 1,580
France 640 80 720 1,960 30 2,000
the Netherlands 500 20 520 280 . 280
Germany 190 40 220 230 10 240
Spain 50 10 50 490 10 500
Italia 50 10 60 430 10 450
Other EU 190 70 250 860 20 890
Other European countries 80 30 110 210 20 230
Africa 10 50 50 220 10 230
North-America . . 10 60 10 80
South-America . . . 10 . 10
Asia 10 . 20 180 10 200
Oceania . . . 20 . 20
Statbel (Direction générale Statistique - Statistics Belgium)
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Purpose and brief description

Travelling, whether domestic or international, for business or holiday, is becoming increasingly important in our way of life. This brochure presents the main results of a survey on the travel behaviour of Belgians. Travel habits have been followed since 1997 via a continuous quarterly survey amongst households. You will find here data regarding the duration and the motives of the trip, the destination, the accommodation type, the means of transport used and how the trip has been organised. The traveller's origin is also surveyed.

Population

Inhabitants in Belgium

Data collection method and sample size

Survey technique based on the use of paper questionnaires

Frequency

Annually.

Timing of publication

Results available 6 months after the reference period

Definitions

Number of trips: Trips of the inhabitants with at least one overnight stay. Day trips are also taken into account since 2014.

Duration of the trip: The duration of the trip is measured as the number of nights.

Purpose of the trip: There is only one main purpose for a trip, in the absence of which the trip would not have taken place. The Directive distinguishes two main reasons to travel:(i) business and professional; (ii) holidays, recreation and leisure. Holidays due to 'Visits to friends and relatives' should be included in point (ii).

Traveller: person who travels during the reporting period.

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