Indicator Fact Sheet

Tourism travel by transport modes

Indicator Fact Sheet
Prod-ID: IND-248-en
  Also known as:
This page was archived on 06 Nov 2013 with reason: Other (Not currently being regularly updated)

Assessment made on  01 Jan 2001

Generic metadata



DPSIR: Driving force


Indicator codes

Policy issue:  Is tourism's contribution to transport demand slowing?

Key messages

  • The two most popular ways of going on holiday - car and airplane - are also the most environmentally destructive forms of transport.


Key assessment

Tourism is a major driver in the transport sector - in 1996, for example, tourist travel made up almost 9% of all passenger kilometres. The average EU citizen travels an average of 1800 km every year for tourism and is increasingly travelling for shorter periods (see 'Is household expenditure on travel growing?').

The car is by far the most popular form of transport for tourism (61%), with air travel accounting for 21%, rail 15%, and ship 3%. Increasingly affordable package holidays have been a major factor here, with holiday travel now accounting for 70% of all air travel. Reducing the usage of car and air travel in the tourism sector, therefore, will make a real difference to emissions of carbon dioxide, road congestion, habitat loss from road and airport construction, damage to the atmosphere caused by airplanes, and other transport-driven environmental issues.

Moreover, these problems are going to get much worse as tourist numbers continue to grow. Arrivals increased by 18% between 1993 and 1998, and some 720 million international tourist arrivals (including Europeans travelling within the EU) are expected every year by 2020, representing an annual growth rate of 3%.


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