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Tourism statistics on the sustainability of vacation travel

Tourism statistics - Facts & figures about vacations 2022/2023

Are you currently looking for Tourism statistics as well as Facts & figures about sustainable travel? Then you've come to the right place. I wanted to know for myself how the tourism industry is doing and have therefore been looking for meaningful facts and figures for a while. My main concern was to find out the potential for a more sustainable travel to discover. Did you know, for example, that 90 percent of the people on our planet have never seen the inside of an airplane?₁

In this statistics post, I would now like to present to you all the important numbers about tourism, travel behavior, destinations and much more that I came across.

  1. Tourism
  2. Vacation destinations
  3. Vacation Behavior
  4. Sustainability
  5. Forecasts
  6. Studies
  7. Closing words

Notice: If you use any of the tourism statistics from this post, please cite the following source. Thank you for your support!

General tourism statistics

Vacation and travel statistics facts and figures

What about the greenhouse gas emissions of the global tourism industry? And how powerful is it actually? Here are some facts and figures to go with it:

Tourism and greenhouse gas emissions

  • The tourism industry accounts for 5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.₂
  • For a two-week all-inclusive vacation in Mexico, travel to and from the destination, as well as accommodation, meals, and local activities, result in approximately 7,218 kilograms of CO2 emitted.₃
  • The average greenhouse gas emissions of a German family from long-distance travel in 2019 were 21,313 kilograms of CO2.₄
  • On an international average, a trip causes about 250 kilograms of CO2.₅

Statistics around the global travel market

  • Out of 7 billion people in the world, only 1 billion take a vacation.₆
  • In 2009, the equivalent of 327 billion euros in revenue was generated worldwide by passengers traveling by air. Just ten years later, the figure is around 500 billion euros.₇
  • Global income from tourism was already the equivalent of 1,180 billion euros worldwide in 2017. Ten years earlier, the figure was still around 783 billion euros.₈
  • In the Philippines, the tourism industry accounts for 24.7 percent of the country's total economic output. In Thailand, too, tourism accounts for 21.6 percent of domestic gross domestic product.₉

Vacation destinations - facts and figures

Destination statistics, facts and figures

Where do holidaymakers particularly like to fly and travel to? Here are a few facts and figures about destinations for you:

  • In 2018, France was the most popular international destination with 93.6 million visitors.₁₀
  • In 1950, there were still around 25 million travel arrivals worldwide. By 2017, this figure had already risen to 1.33 billion.₁₁
  • 19.4 million international tourists visited the Thai capital Bangkok in 2016. 19.1 million vacationers also landed in London during the same period.₁₂

Travel behavior - facts and figures

Vacation behavior statistics and figures

Data on the development of vacationers' travel behavior is extremely important for identifying possible trends for the future. Here you will find some facts and figures:

  • Germans take around 70 million vacation trips per year.₁₃
  • In 2018, there were around 46 million flights in global aviation - and the trend is rising.₁₄
  • In 2018, 2.2 million Germans took a cruise - putting them in the lead. Among European countries, only the British made nearly as many cruises - 2 million.₁₅
  • In 2014, around 21 million people were traveling on cruise ships worldwide - producing 32 liters of wastewater per person every day.₁₆
  • A hotel was used as accommodation for 53 percent of global trips. Around 8 percent stayed in vacation apartments and 5 percent used bed & breakfasts.₁₇
  • 84 percent of all German tourists made a purchase in 2017 Souvenir in the respective vacation country.₁₈
  • In 2018, the average travel time of German vacationers was around 12 days. In 1997, it was still 16 days.₁₉

Statistics on sustainable travel

Sustainability tourism statistics

Here you'll find facts and figures about vacationers' attitudes toward sustainable travel and about the sustainability of travel itself:

  • 70 percent of Germans would like to travel more sustainably - but only 7 percent do.₂₁
  • 15 German tourists generate about one job in developing and emerging countries.₂₂
  • 51 percent of German vacationers preferred a destination that was rather or as far away from home as possible in 2017. Only 15 percent preferred a vacation destination that was close or as close as possible to their home.₂₃
  • 75 percent of Germans consider respectful treatment of the country's culture to be particularly important when traveling sustainably.₂₄
  • 71 percent of Germans think a significantly higher tax on airline tickets and the associated price increase is a good climate protection measure.₂₅
  • The average ticket price in global air traffic was still 549 euros in 2011. In 2018, passengers had to pay an average of only 331 euros.₂₆

Notice: You can find all the facts about greenhouse gas emissions in tourism in this post above! I can also warmly recommend the contribution to the Zero Waste Journey where you can learn how to avoid waste on vacation.

Forecast Tourism Facts & Figures

Travel statistics forecast Tourimus

You could also title this section as an answer to the question "Why should you travel sustainably?". Here you will now learn some statistics about the future of the tourism industry that make it clear that a change in thinking must take place immediately:

  • By 2030, there are expected to be around 1.8 billion tourists around the world each year.₂₇
  • The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) expects an annual growth rate of 4.8 percent in civil passenger air traffic by 2036.₂₈
  • Despite increasing efficiency, tourism energy consumption is expected to double by 2040.₂₉
  • By 2050, water consumption in tourism is expected to double from 138 km³ in 2010 to 265 km³ in 2050.₃₀
  • If we do not learn from our mistakes, land consumption by tourism will also almost triple from around 62,000 k㎡ in 2015 to around 178,700 k㎡ by 2050.₃₁

The best tourism studies with meaningful statistics

Forecasts statistics on the future of the vacation

For these travel statistics I have used many articles but also some scientific studies which are updated regularly. If you are looking for more facts and figures about the travel industry, you might find them here:

Question: Do you have any other studies at hand? Then write me a comment with your tip!

Use tourism statistics to educate!

I hope that the facts and figures about destinations, travel behavior and especially about sustainability in tourism will help you. Share the statistics to re-establish in our society a greater awareness of the impact of unconscious travel behavior.

Do you have any questions, suggestions or other tourism statistics that I should definitely include here? Then just write a short comment below this article.

Stay sustainable,

Living plastic-free - Less plastic waste in the environment

PS.: In the Statistics Blog I have compiled many more figures for you in addition to the tourism facts. For example, take a look at the Plastic waste statistics or the Vegetarian numbers an.

If you use any of the tourism statistics from this post, please cite the following source. Thank you for your support!


₁ Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V. (BUND). (BUND): The true cost of flying: climate killers. [09.03.2020].

₂,₅,₂₈ WWF Germany: Overfishing: Sustainability in Tourism - Your Holiday and Climate Change (as at: 08.12.2016). [10.03.2020].

₃ Federal Environment Agency; WWF: Greenhouse gas emissions per person and trip (as of 2009). [11.03.2020].

₄ Statista GmbH: Sustainable travel (as of 2020). [10.03.2020].

₆,₁₃ WWF Germany: Environmental pollution through tourism? Better to travel sustainably! | WWF Germany. YouTube, 28.07.2016, Web, 10.03.2020 at 21:50, in:

₇ Statista GmbH: Global air passenger revenue from 2004 to 2020 (as of December 2019). [10.03.2020].

₈ Statista GmbH: Worldwide tourism receipts from 2000 to 2018 (as of August 2019). [03/10/2020].

₉,₁₀,₁₇,₂₆ Statista GmbH: Overtourism (as of 2019). [10.03.2020].

₁₁ Statista GmbH: Worldwide tourism volume by number of travel arrivals from 1950 to 2019 (as of January 2020). [03/10/2020].

₁₂ I. Eisele; Deutsche Welle: The downside of tourism (as of Aug. 20, 2018), available at [Mar. 10, 2020].

₁₄ Statista GmbH (2018): Number of flights in global aviation from 2014 to 2018 (as of 2019). [10.03.2020].

₁₅ Statista GmbH (2019): Number of European passengers on cruise ships in 2017 and 2018 by country of origin (as of 2019). [10.03.2020].

₁₆ WWF Germany: Environmental pollution through tourism? Better to travel sustainably! | WWF Germany. YouTube, 28.07.2016, Web, 10.03.2020 at 21:50, in:

₁₈ Statista GmbH: Share of travelers buying souvenirs on vacation by country of origin in 2017 (as of August 2017). [10.03.2020].

₁₉ Statista GmbH: Average duration of vacations of German travelers from 1997 to 2019 (as of February 2020). [10.03.2020].

₂₁ Norddeutscher Rundfunk; Tagesschau: #kurzerklärt: Nachhaltiges Reisen - wie geht das?. YouTube, 28 Jun. 2019, Web, 10 Mar. 2020 at 21:53, in:

₂₂ German Tourism Association (BTW). (BTW): Zahlen, Daten und Fakten, available at [10.03.2020].

₂₃,₂₄,₂₅ Statista GmbH: Sustainable travel (as of 2020). [10.03.2020].

₂₇ / e.V. i.L.: WissensWerte: Tourismus und Nachhaltigkeit. YouTube, 06.01.2015, Web, 10.03.2020 at 22:10, in:

₂₉,₃₀,₃₁ Bread for the World; Tourism Watch: An Assessment of Tourism Resource Use - Scenarios of an Unsustainable Future (as of 18.09.2015). [11.03.2020].

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Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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