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WTTC: EU Travel & Tourism Sector to be Critical to the EU’s Economic Recovery

EU Travel & Tourism Sector

A major new report has revealed Travel & Tourism’s crucial contribution to help re-energise the EU’s economic recovery once the COVID-19 pandemic has been successfully combated.

The publication by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, of its annual Economic Impact Report (EIR), shows the vital part the sector played in driving the EU economy last year.

During 2019, Travel & Tourism was responsible for 22.6 million jobs, or 11.2% of the EU’s total workforce. It also generated 1,319 billion Euro’s GDP, or 9.5% to the EU economy. Whilst the EU’s overall economy grew by just 1.4%, the Travel & Tourism sector showed significant growth of 2.3% on the previous year.

The comprehensive report also showed the EU is the largest region in the world in terms of international spending at a staggering 427 billion Euros in 2019, representing 6.2% of the EU’s total exports.

Leisure spending helped generate jobs throughout the EU with analysis from the report showing across the EU it accounted for an overwhelming 81% of all cash spent, compared to less than a fifth (19%) for business.



The largest EU economies in terms of total Travel & Tourism contribution to GDP were also revealed to be Germany (US$347 billion), Italy (US$260 billion), France (US$229 billion) and Spain (US$198 billion).

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: “WTTC’s 2019 Economic Impact Report (EIR) shows how intrinsic the Travel & Tourism sector was last year to the EU economy, responsible for more than 22 million jobs or 11.2% of the total number of people employed.

“Our analysis underscores how vital the Travel & Tourism sector will be in powering the recovery of the EU economy, generating new jobs and driving visitors back, having a positive economic domino effect on suppliers large and small throughout the industry on the continent.

“Until then it is crucial that all governments throughout the EU help to protect a sector which is the backbone of the European and global economy, which is currently in a fight for survival with up to 75 million jobs globally are at immediate risk, with 6.4 million at risk across the EU alone.”

On a global level, the Travel & Tourism sector outperformed the 2.5% rate of global GDP growth for the ninth consecutive year in a row, thanks to an annual GDP growth rate of 3.5%. This made it the global economy’s third highest sector in terms of GDP growth.

The EIR shows the sector supporting 1 in 10 jobs (330 million), making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating 1 in 4 of all new jobs.

A breakdown by WTTC shows the Asia Pacific to be the top performing region worldwide with an impressive growth rate of 5.5%, followed very closely by the Middle East at 5.3%. The US demonstrated a steady growth rate of 3.4% and the EU 2.4%, while the fastest growing country was Saudi Arabia.

WTTC’s 2020 EIR EU report is available here

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