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The hospitality industry's contributions to European economy society

Europe in the world tourism market 


Europe keeps being the number one tourist destination, although its market share significantly decreased from over 60% in 1990 to 51% in 2015. The European Union alone counted 478,4 million international tourist arrivals in 2015, translated in a total share of 40,3%. 


In terms of international tourism receipts, the EU is second with receipts amounted to 336,5 billion euros and rising at a lower level than the rest of the world, behind the Asia and Pacific region with receipts of 377 billion euros in 2015. Third is the Americas with 273,7 billion euros, with North America alone accounting for 214,9 billion euros.

Thanks to its leading role in the global tourism market, the hospitality sector is one of the key drivers of the European economy, and European tourism, both in terms of employment as well as of direct contribution to the economy. Together with tourism, the hospitality sector is the 3rd largest socio-economic activity in the EU

Indeed, 1 in 10 enterprises in the European non-financial business economy belongs to the tourism industries. The hospitality sector directly employs 80% of the total EU tourism workforce, and counts all together 1,8 million enterprises, from which 9 out of 10 are micro enterprises, employing fewer than 10 people.


A strong driver for job creation: 2,5 million new jobs in the last decade  

Due to its essential role for the European economy, the industry is a particularly significant sector in terms of employment. Hospitality businesses alone provide for 10 million jobs directly, representing 4,7% of the total employment in the European Union


Hotels, restaurants, bars and similar establishments employed year by year 2,9% more people in the first decade of the millennium, creating an additional 2,5 million jobs. In the same period, employment in the overall economy was only growing by 0,7% every year. 

Last but not least, the sector employs 16,6 million workers including indirect and induced effects. 

A sector providing jobs to the young


The sector is also strong for providing jobs to the young. In the overall economy, the unemployment rate of people older than 25 years amounted to 8,3% in 2015, while youth (aged below 25 years) unemployment was of 20,3% in the EU. 

Conversely, while in the overall economy only 8,2% of the persons employed are aged below 25 years, this figure in the hospitality industry amounts to 19,6%.
These figures show the big potential of the sector in fighting youth unemployment. 




A significant employer for women 

The hospitality industry is also a sector being especially significant in the employment of women. While in the overall economy 46,1% of people employed are women, in the hospitality sector this figure rises to 53,7%.


A key player for social inclusion 


Regarding employment, the hospitality sector plays an important role in social inclusion, offering the first job experience for many young people

It also offers employment to relatively unskilled people, as 30% employed in the sector have maximum a lower secondary education, compared to 18% in the overall economy. 

When it comes to the possibility of working part-time, 33% of people in the sector are working part-time, compared to 20% in the overall economy.



A catalyst for economic growth 


Regarding further economic contributions, turnover across the hospitality sector is over €1.0tn, equal to approximately 8.1% of total economic output, with gross value added (GVA) in the sector (the contribution it makes to economic growth) of more than €460bn, or 3.7% of GDP.

Out of this contribution, 236 billion EUR was direct contribution and 131 billion generated through the supply chains. 60% of this value added is generated by the small enterprises employing fewer than 50 people. In 2010, the hospitality sector contributed around €126bn to government treasuries in excise duties, VAT and employment and social security taxes.


Sources: 

  • EY study: The hospitality sector in Europe, September 2013
  • UNWTO World Tourism Barometer
  • UNWTO Tourism Highlights, 2016 edition 
  • Eurostat: Tourism statistics 2016, Eurostat Compact guides 
  • Eurostat data extraction