Survey on holidays and travels

Last summer, France accounted for a third of all trips abroad by Belgians

Last summer, France accounted for a third of all trips abroad by Belgians

Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, publishes today the figures from its survey on holidays and travels for the 3rd quarter of 2023. During this period, 8,705,000 trips were made in Belgium or abroad.

0.5% increase in travel compared to the 3rd quarter of 2022

In the 3rd quarter of 2023, there were 1.79 million domestic trips and 6.92 million trips abroad. Compared to same quarter in 2022, this is a decrease of 10.4% and an increase of 3.8%, respectively.

It should be noted that trips abroad in the 3rd quarter of 2023 are still below the peak of 2019, when 7.15 million trips were recorded during the summer period.

14% increase in travel in France compared to the 3rd quarter of 2022

The two most popular foreign destinations for Belgians have become even more popular this year. Belgians made 2.38 million trips to France in the summer 2023, wich is a 14.0% increase compared to 2022. This is more than a third (34.3%) of all trips abroad.

Spain is another destination that is growing in popularity. 0.79 million trips took place there, an increase of 9.4% compared to 2022.

22.6% decrease in trips to the Ardennes compared to the 3rd quarter of 2022

Most domestic trips decreased in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the same period last year. Indeed, trips have decreased by:

  • 22.6% for the Ardennes
  • 15.2% for the cities of art
  • 4.8% for the coast



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.