The total number of trips made by Belgians increased by 1.8 million (10%) between 2017 and 2018, according to a new study by Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, published on Thursday.
In total, just under two-thirds of Belgians (64%) went travelling at least once last year, with 20.5 million trips lasting at least one night – including 19.1 million holiday trips. Some 12 million of these journeys lasted four or more nights, 5% of which were for professional reasons. By contrast, 8.35 million trips lasted between one and three nights, 11% of which were not undertaken “for pleasure”.
Belgium itself was the preferred destination (41%) for short trips, followed by France (22%) and the Netherlands (14%). Almost all of these one- to three-night trips (99%) took place within the borders of the European Union.
For longer journeys (i.e. those equalling or exceeding four nights), France was the most popular destination (26%), while Belgium and Spain were tied in popularity (14%): in total, 84% of such trips were to an EU country.
In July of last year, Statbel recorded 3.3 million long leisure trips, compared to “only” 1.9 million in August. For these sorts of holidays, Belgians tended to prefer hotels (38%), followed by rentals (27%) and free accommodation with friends or family (20%).