European tourism remains a strong growth factor

Visit of Johannes Hahn, Member of the EC, to Greece. The Commissioner posing in front of a liner. (EC Audiovisual Services).

Visit of Johannes Hahn, Member of the EC, to Greece. The Commissioner posing in front of a liner. (EC Audiovisual Services).

The mighty European services industry offers more jobs and employment despite the ongoing financial crisis. Tourism, being the largest service sub-sector offers a strong support base to the recession stricken Eurozone economy. Yesterday the European Commission published a Eurobarometer survey on the tourism industry, with very encouraging findings. According to this survey, “Tourism’s robust and resilient performance expected to continue in 2013”.

In detail the survey found that “tourism is one of the few sectors that have continued to grow and create jobs, despite the crisis. Seven out of ten Europeans travelled in 2012 (the same proportion as in 2011). And of EU holiday makers, as many as 88% spent their vacations somewhere within the EU, either in their own country or in another Member State”.

Growth factor

The fact that most Europeans choose to spend their holidays within the Union’s boundaries traditionally offers a strong growth base to local economies, creating jobs and providing incentives for investments. Fortunately according to Eurobarometer the industry’s robust and resilient performance is expected to continue in 2013: “three quarters of respondents to a recent EU survey (75%) are planning to go on holiday this year, although 34% will adapt their holiday plans to take the economic situation into account. Holiday plans for 2013 closely resembled the destinations chosen in 2012. Spain (12%), Italy (8%) and France (7%) are still the most preferred destinations, and 51% plan to take a holiday in their own country”.

As expected choosing to take holidays domestically is growing in the hardest stricken by crisis countries. Domestic holidays were most common in Greece (87%), Italy (80%) and Spain (73%). Europeans who did not travel at all in 2012 mostly cited financial reasons for not taking a holiday (46%). At the same time 88% of all EU respondents who travelled for a personal holiday for at least four nights went somewhere within the EU. Spending time in the sunshine or at the beach was the main reason for a holiday of at least four consecutive nights in 2012 (40%), closely followed by visiting family, friends or relatives (36%).

Competitiveness

It is even more promising that holidaymakers find the European tourist industry very competitive, offering good services at low prices. The Eurobarometer survey found that     “92% of EU respondents were satisfied with the quality of accommodation in 2012”. Most EU citizens were also satisfied with the general level of prices (83%), which represents another key reason to go back to the same holiday destination.

This is the fifth consecutive year that the European Commission has carried out such an extensive survey. It helps to monitor the short and medium term travel and tourism trends of European citizens. It is therefore an important instrument for tourism policy-making as well as for tourism industry planning, in particular as regards the types of tourism and the main tourism destinations.

 

 

 

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