The tourism industry has always played an important role in the EU not only due to economic and employment potential but also due to its social and environmental implications. Tourism statistics provide not only a true picture of the pros and cons of tourism policies of the EU but are also indicative of the pros and cons of the regional and sustainable development policies.
What is the current situation?
According to the data published by the European Commission (EC), in 2016, one in ten enterprises in the European non-financial business economy belonged to the tourism industry. This means that we are talking about 2.4 million enterprises! Those businesses employed an estimated 13.6 million employees. In turn, the tourism-related sector accounted for 9.5 % of the employees in the whole non-financial business economy and 21.7 % of persons employed in the services sector. These numbers show how crucial the tourism industry is for the general labor market. On the other hand, according to EC, the tourism industries’ shares in total turnover and value added at factor cost were relatively lower, accounting only for 3.9 % of the turnover and 5.8 % of the value-added of the non-financial business economy.
What do those figures tell us? This means only one thing: until Europe decides to open the borders for tourists from all over the world, there will be no dramatic positive change to the current situation. Even after the opening of the borders, a long time will pass till the previous level can be reached, and only afterward we can start speaking of any income increase in the tourist industry.