Survey on holidays and travels

Summer travel is back to pre-Covid levels

Summer travel is back to pre-Covid levels

This summer, Belgians made as many trips as in 2019.

Domestic destinations remain on the rise, but more than 800,000 trips were to destinations outside Europe.

In the 3rd quarter of 2022, Belgian people made almost 9 million trips, almost as many as in the summer of 2019.

We travelled almost 6% more in the 3rd quarter of 2022 compared to the average of the 3rd quarters of the years 2016 to 2019. The number of trips to Belgium is even 26% higher than this average.

The number of trips abroad also slightly increases (+1.2%), but ‘only’ accounts for 77% of trips in the 3rd quarter, compared to 80% between 2016 and 2019.

However, Belgians have a renewed taste for long journeys, as they made more than 800,000 trips outside Europe, i.e. 12% more than in 2016-2019.

One domestic trip out of three to the coast

36% of the trips in Belgium took place at the coast [1], 27% in the Ardennes [2] and 12% in the cities of art [3], which nevertheless registered an increase of 61% compared to the 3rd quarters of 2016-2019. The increase is present to varying degrees in the Ardennes (+39%) and at the coast (+5%).

More business trips than before Covid-19

Finally, while still lagging behind at the beginning of 2022, business travel confirms its recovery and shows an increase of 13% compared to the 3rd quarters of 2016-2019.

[1] All coastal municipalities except Bruges
[2] Broad or tourist definition: Ardennes, Condroz, Fagne and Famenne, land of Herve, Gaume and land of Arlon
[3] Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, Leuven, Mechelen, Liège, Namur, Charleroi and Mons


Number of travels by destination, duration and motif, 2021 (in milliers)

Destination Trips of 1 to 3 nights Trips of 4 nights or more
Holidays Professional trip Total Holidays Professional trip Total
Total 6,500 350 6,850 8,400 260 8,660
European Union 6,420 340 6,760 7,520 190 7,710
Belgium 4,460 130 4,600 2,280 30 2,310
France 880 80 950 2,240 70 2,310
the Netherlands 550 30 580 240 20 260
Germany 260 10 270 230 10 240
Spain 80 10 80 870 10 880
Italia 80 10 90 540 . 550
Other EU 120 60 190 1,100 40 1,150
Other European countries 50 10 50 270 10 280
Africa 10 . 10 210 10 220
North-America . . . 40 10 40
South-America . . . 60 10 70
Asia + Oceania 20 . 20 300 30 330
Statbel (Direction générale Statistique - Statistics Belgium)

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.


Inhabitants in Belgium

Data collection method and sample size

Survey technique based on the use of paper questionnaires



Timing of publication

Results available 6 months after the reference period


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.

Low-skilled people are people who have at best a lower secondary education diploma. Medium-skilled people have obtained an upper secondary education diploma, but no higher education diploma. High-skilled people have a higher education diploma.