Survey on holidays and travels

Belgians travelled massively in the first three months of 2022

Belgians travelled massively in the first three months of 2022

After having to suspend their travel plans for almost two years, there is a significant upturn in early 2022. Belgians made more than 4 million trips in the first quarter of 2022. They made 27% more trips in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the average for the first quarters of 2016-2019. These include:

  • 46% more trips within Belgium, of which +79% to the coast;
  • 21% more trips abroad, of which +51% to France but -6% outside the EU;
  • 33% more holiday trips.

However, there were still 26% fewer business trips compared to the same period in 2016-2019. Some business trips may be permanently replaced by online meetings.

The graph below clearly shows how Belgians adjusted their travel behaviour during the COVID-19 crisis and steadily increased their travel from the beginning of 2021 onwards.


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.