Survey on holidays and travels

6.8% increase in travel in the 4th quarter of 2023

6.8% increase in travel in the 4th quarter of 2023

Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, publishes today the figures from its survey on holidays and travels for the 4th quarter 2023. During this period, 4,444,271 trips were made in Belgium or abroad, or 6.8% more than in the same quarter the year before.

There were 1.41 million domestic trips and 3.03 million trips abroad. Compared to same quarter in 2022, these are increases of 1.0% and 9.7%, respectively.

34.4% increase in travel outside the European Union compared to the 4th quarter of 2022

Even though trips to France decreased by 4.1% in the 4th quarter of 2023 compared to the 4th quarter of 2022, it remains Belgians’ favourite destination with 757,000 trips.

Spain is a destination that is growing in popularity. 436,000 trips took place there, an increase of 18.8% compared to 2022.

But it was destinations outside the EU that saw the largest increase, with 650,000 trips, or 34.4% more than in the same quarter of 2022.

34.4% decrease in trips to cities of art compared to the 4th quarter of 2022

Most domestic travel increased in the 4th quarter of 2023, and the only decrease was in the cities of art. In fact, travel recorded evolutions of:

  • +23.4% for the Coast
  • +3.0% for the Ardennes
  • -34.4% for the cities of art

Number of travels by destination, duration and motif, 2022 (in milliers)

Destination Trips of 1 to 3 nights Trips of 4 nights or more
Holidays Professional trip Total Holidays Professional trip Total
Total 7,955 736 8,691 12,584 489 13,073
European Union 7,705 661 8,366 10,553 321 10,874
Belgium 4,012 139 4,151 1,573 35 1,608
France 1,559 172 1,731 3,179 69 3,248
the Netherlands 1,035 87 1,122 570 14 584
Germany 434 84 518 410 41 451
Spain 132 34 165 1,720 44 1,764
Italia 106 38 145 1,033 24 1,058
Other EU 427 107 534 2,069 93 2,161
Other European countries 193 56 249 904 57 961
Africa 47 3 50 662 40 702
North-America . 6 6 155 27 181
South-America . 2 2 97 8 104
Asia + Oceania 10 7 18 214 37 250
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.