You need information, data and analysis on current trends in the tourism sector? Check the Virtual Tourism Observatory

The European Commission's Virtual Tourism Observatory (VTO) aims to support policy makers and businesses develop better strategies for a more competitive European tourism sector.The Virtual Tourism Observatory provides access to a broad collection of information, data and analysis on current trends in the tourism sector.

It includes the latest available figures on the sector's trends and volumes, economic and environmental impact, and the origin and profile of tourists.

The Observatory consists of five sections:

Country Profiles

The country profiles offer a snapshot view of key tourism indicators for the European Union and each of its member countries. A user-friendly interface allows the user to personalise the analysis, benchmark two or more countries, and download economic indicators and tourism data.

EU country profiles

Tourism statistics illustrated

Statistics Illustrated is a powerful visualisation tool that displays monthly and annual data on tourist flows, accommodation capacity, occupancy, expenditure and other data on the trips of EU residents. The tool lets the user visualise data as maps, tables or graphs. The dynamic dashboards help users in the comparative analysis and evaluation of tourism trends. This tool has been developed by the Directorate-General (DG) for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, and Eurostat.

Statistics illustrated

Eurobarometer surveys

The European Union is a major source market for destinations as many Europeans travel in the EU and worldwide. Flash Eurobarometersurveys reveal preferences and attitudes of Europeans towards tourism. The Eurobarometer surveys offer a portrait of the current situation and the outlook for the upcoming year.


Studies and Reports

The Observatory is also a repository for reports, studies and papers relevant for tourism policy makers and businesses. A user-friendly tool allows users to search the extensive library by country, theme or year of publication. This section offers access to all relevant publications of DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, and the Commission, as well as to a wide range of works published by other institutions, international organisations, member states and academia.

Studies and Reports

More data sources

A useful collection of links to national and international organisations and observatories providing facts and figures on the tourism sector in Europe and worldwide.


Accessible tourism

Accessible tourism is about making it easy for all people to enjoy tourism experiences.

According to the UN, an estimated 650 million people in the world live with disabilities. Together with their families, that means approximately 2 billion people are directly affected by disability, representing almost a third of the world’s population.

More people have access needs, whether or not related to a physical condition. For example, older and less mobile people or people with pushchairs have access needs, which can become a huge obstacle when going on holiday. The European population is aging: by 2050 the number of people over 65 will be 3 times what it was in 2003, and the over 80s will be 5 times greater in number.
For those people, travelling can be a real challenge, as finding the information on accessible services, checking luggage on a plane, booking a room with special access needs often prove to be difficult, costly and time consuming.

They represent a huge market potential for tourism which today remains vastly under-served.

An under-served market

Making tourism more accessible is a social responsibility, but also a compelling business case to boost the competitiveness of tourism in Europe.

Making tourism more accessible is a social responsibility, but also a compelling business case

to boost the competitiveness of tourism in Europe.

Many examples show that making basic adjustments to a facility, providing accurate information, and

understanding the needs of disabled people can result in increased visitor numbers. Improving the accessibility of tourism services increases their quality and their enjoyment for all tourists, as well as improving quality of life in the local communities.

The European Commission is committed to increasing accessibility in tourism by:


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