Overnight stay

A unit for measuring length of stay per person (i.e. number of nights spent) in commercial and non-commercial accommodation. The number of overnight stays in a location serves to determine the duration of the stay. It can also be used to measure the number of temporary residents in a location, including tourists, business travellers, pilgrims and patients (in the case of health mobility), or people visiting relatives/friends. Statisticians tend to equate the number of overnight stays with tourism. However, the relationship is only partial, as mobility levels among present-day populations have increased, and the presence of temporary inhabitants in a given location cannot always be associated with tourism.

This indicator therefore shows that spending a night somewhere temporarily changes our place of dwelling (Lazzarotti, 2006), and this appears as a tipping point in our inhabiting regimes (Stock, 2006).


  • Lazzarotti Olivier, 2006, Habiter, la condition géographique. Paris, Belin, coll. «Mappemonde», 297 p.
  • Stock Mathis, 2006, «Pratiques des lieux, modes d’habiter, régimes d’habiter: Pour une analyse trialogique des dimensions spatiales des sociétés humaines», Travaux de l’Institut de Géographie de Reims. vol. 29, n°115, p. 213-220.