The paper proposes an analysis of the international tourism trends among the EU countries and of some relevant tourist indicators in the period 1995-2010. The main goal is the identification of different national tourist profiles and the analysis of their changes along time, through the proper use of the valuable EUROSTAT database on tourism statistics, available on line. Methods and Results Data derive from a statistical database managed by EUROSTAT and fed through regular updates from the single EU countries. The database has been deeply enriched and harmonized just in the last years, as a direct consequence of the new EU Regulation on Tourism Statistics. Data have been selected in order to supply information on five main tourist features: domestic tourism, foreign tourism, tourist pressure, productivity and seasonality. They have been normalized through imputation of missing micro-data and then properly used for the calculation of specific statistical indicators, which prevent from size effects and guarantee international comparability. The analyses are presented at the level of 4 groups of countries; a final ranking of the 27 EU states according to nine main competitiveness indicators has been proposed as well. Conclusions Some of the main outcomes are: a) trends of nights spent and travels in the EU are mainly positive, but are slowing down in the recent years; b) broadly speaking, foreign tourism is increasing quite faster than domestic tourism; c) productivity indicators as the number of nights spent by bed place or by person employed are decreasing almost everywhere in the EU; d) Italy is still hampered by structural problems as high seasonality and low share of foreign tourists. However, its rank in the EU competitiveness scale is near the average.
Keywords: Arrival, European Union, night spent, tourism, travel