The continent’s five most popular holiday destination countries reel in the lion’s share of Europe’s tourists

Greece is one of five European Union member states that are the main tourism destinations for those traveling in Europe. Austria, Germany, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands attract half of all the some 300 million tourists traveling in the EU every year; of these, 70 percent are from within the EU itself. Most are aged between 25 and 44, followed by those in the 45-64 range, who stay an average of three to four nights at a destination. Four countries provide 70 percent of the continent’s tourists; 36 percent from Germany, 23 percent from Britain and 7 percent from the Netherlands and France. Traffic accidents According to an EU survey aimed at providing better security for tourists, about 3,800 are killed every year while playing a sport or in traffic accidents. About 70 percent of tourists in Europe prefer to travel by car, either their own or rented, while 80 percent of those who have suffered an accident say it could have happened in their own country; they attribute their injuries to bad luck. Of tourists who are hospitalized, 60 percent are men, as are 80 percent of those who die due to an accident. Of course traffic accidents do not only affect tourists; every year 45,000 Europeans die on the roads. One in 80 Europeans will die on the road 40 years below their predicted life span; one in three will be hospitalized at some point in their life as a result of a road accident. Other dangers The survey found that tourists are infrequently given information on the particular risks inherent in a specific region or activity, such as alpine skiing or swimming in the sea. No one wants to be worried about safety while on holiday. The 15 (until this year) member states of the EU are home to 375 million people, 10 percent of whom are injured every year; 130,000 die of their injuries. These states also welcome 300 million tourists every year, spread out over the member states disproportionately to their population size. Austria, for example, receives about 19 million tourists every year, or 232 percent of its population, France 77 million (129 percent of its population), Greece 14 million (128 percent), Italy 40 million (70 percent), the Netherlands 10 million (60 percent) and Germany 18 million (22 percent). Greece is a major tourist destination, with 92 percent of its visitors coming from within the EU. Eighty percent of Greece’s visitors arrive by air; the survey found that about 10 percent of the country’s population is employed in tourism either directly or indirectly. As for France, it is the top tourist destination in the world, with about 77 million visitors every year, and is preferred by Germans and the British. For many more it is an intermediate destination on their way to Spain and Italy. Austria is seen as an excellent country for tourists, most of whom come from Germany and Netherlands, and most by car. Most of the winter tourists head for the snowfields, in summer they come for mountain climbing. That is why most of the accidents occur when playing a sport. Skiing is the main cause of injuries for travelers to Germany. The Germans themselves travel abroad, as do the British, Belgians and Dutch. Spaniards and Italians, however, do not venture outside their own borders as often. At home, Europeans travel by car Europeans travel frequently within their own national borders, mainly (as they say) «for a break,» or to visit relatives or friends, which accounts for over half of these trips. Another 25-40 percent travel on business, or at least that is what they say. Business trips are particularly popular with 37.5 percent of Austrians. About 70 percent of Europeans travel within their own borders by car, most of all in France (77.1 percent); the lowest percentage (in Spain) is 60.5 percent. Second choice is the train, although only for 10 percent of travelers, with fewer traveling by air. Every European moves about at least seven times a year, most over a distance of less than 400 kilometers (250 miles). Working people travel the most, and men more frequently than women, although these figures vary from one member state to another. Danes often travel alone, while Spaniards, Austrians and the Portuguese are not fond of solitary journeys, preferring groups of at least three or four people. Most return home within four days. The Danes and Swedes in particular are fond of very brief stays – often of less than six hours.