According to data from Eurostat, the most popular destination of EU citizens in 2015 was the Canaries with 94 million overnight stays, followed by the French region Île-de-France including Paris, with 76.8 million overnight stays.
Furthermore, the Spanish Catalonia placed as the third with 75.5 million overnights, whilst the Croatian coast was in the very high fourth place with 68.1 million overnight stays realized in 2015.
Croatia’s Adriatic left many attractive destinations behind such as the Spanish tourist pearl the Balearic islands, the Italian region Veneto including Venice, the land of corridas and flamenco-Andalusia, the French regions of Provence-Alps-Côte d'Azur and Rhone Alps as well as the British capital of London with its surroundings, Tuscany and many others.
However, Sanja Cizmar, the analyst from the HDCZ consultancy company warns that this comparison was not quite relevant because it compared regions that could not be compared in terms of tourist products and services.
‘’What are the points of interest of a summer resort on the Adriatic and let us say, Paris? Even a comparison with the Canaries is not relevant because there the tourist season last almost a year thanks to the favourable climate. Nevertheless, it is a positive thing that we positioned very high on this list. In addition, Europe is a large receptive market and it is better for us to be mentioned along the most successful tourist destinations in Europe. For example, we were side by side of Catalonia, with which we can compare and which is globally recognized as a successful tourist destination’’, commented Cizmar.
The Eurostat data also showed that EU citizens achieved almost 90 percent of all overnights in EU countries. As far as other world destinations are concerned, in 2015 the most desirable destinations to EU citizens were the US where they realized 14 percent overnight stays and Turkey with 10.4 overnights stays realized by EU citizens. However, this list would look quite different today because due to terrorism attacks, tourist interest in Turkey has declined heavily over the past few years.