Credit: STATEC

According to a recent tourism survey by STATEC, Luxembourg residents have resumed their pre-pandemic travel habits; leisure trips had even increased by 36% in summer 2022 compared to the same period in 2019.

In summer 2022, Luxembourg residents made 916,000 leisure trips, i.e. 1.7 trips per resident, which corresponds to an increase of 36% compared to summer 2019 - the last reference summer period before the decline in tourism due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Air travel and trips to distant destinations returned to or even exceeded their pre-crisis level during the summer of 2022.

In summer 2020, due to the pandemic, residents travelled less for leisure (down 24%), instead opting to visit family and friends (up 7%). Tourism picked up again in 2021, noted STATEC. Whilst the number of holidays returned to their 2019 level, visits to family and friends increased further and exceeded the level observed in 2019 by 32%. To return to a "normal" situation, all that was missing, according to STATEC, was for air travel to distant destinations to pick up again. This is what happened in summer 2022. Some destinations may not yet have regained their former appeal, but the results of the STATEC tourism survey has shown that air travel among residents increased by 17% compared to summer 2019. Air travel had fallen sharply (down 45%) in 2020 following the various health restrictions put in place. Travel by car represented 67% of trips. Air travel resumed gradually in 2021, although it was not until last summer that a large number of residents returned to airports.

The main travel destinations were Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Italy. STATEC added that holidays outside Europe returned to their pre-crisis level within two years. Stays in Luxembourg have increased sharply since the health crisis, before which such stays ("staycations") were rare.

In 2020, as residents emerged from the first lockdown, 37% preferred to spend the summer at home; by summer 2021, this figure had fallen to 27%. STATEC noted that travel has now resumed for all ages, although health and mobility plays a role: less than one in two residents over the age of 75 stayed somewhere overnight in summer 2022.

Moreover, residents aged 15 to 85 made 205,000 local trips (i.e. overnight stays less than 300 km from home) in summer 2022. This number has been increasing since 2020 (up 29%), as have figures for leisure tourism in general (up 36%). 22% of all leisure trips made last summer were considered local. This percentage was higher in 2020 (28%), but fell to 20% in 2021 (159,000 local trips in 2020 compared to 145,000 in 2021). By definition, local stays can take place in 5 countries, Luxembourg, the three countries bordering Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Luxembourg was the most popular local trip destination among residents (28%), followed by Germany (25%), France (22%), Belgium (18%) and the Netherlands (7%).