Norwegians -- Europe's most prolific travelers

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An EU survey released March 9 has revealed the holiday habits of Europe, suggesting that two thirds of Europeans traveled for pleasure in 2009 and 50 percent have already decided they will go away this year.

In 2009, Norwegians were Europe's most prolific travelers, according to the European Commission survey, with 84 percent saying that they had been away last year. Finns were the next most likely to have traveled (83 percent), followed by the Dutch (79 percent) and the Irish (78 percent).

By contrast, less than half of the interviewees in Turkey (37 percent), Malta (44 percent) and Hungary (48 percent) had traveled away from home for at least one night in the past year.

Roughly one-fifth of Europeans do not plan to travel for leisure this year, but half are already planning their vacations. The countries whose residents were most likely to be planning were Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Austria and Slovenia, where approximately two-thirds of respondents said they were going to get away.

The survey also raised some interesting results about why we go on holiday.

Respondents revealed that the environment (overall attractiveness) was the factor most likely to influence their choice of destination - 32 percent of EU citizens said that it was the key consideration. By contrast, only 5-6 percent named gastronomy, art, or festivals as a major consideration.

Germans were the most likely to rate the environment as important, whilst Dutch respondents were the least likely. In fact, interviewees from the Netherlands, along with Norwegians, Danes, Turks and Cypriots, were among the most likely to name cultural heritage as a important factor.

Spain held top spot in terms of destinations during 2008 and 2009 and already leads the pack for plans during 2010, said the survey. France and Italy took second and third spot respectively.

The European Commission surveyed over 30,000 randomly selected EU citizens throughout February 2010 to compile the survey, now in its third year.