Tourism industries - economic analysis
From Statistics Explained
One in seven businesses belong to the tourism industries
Statistics in focus 32/2013; Author: Christophe DEMUNTER, Krista DIMITRAKOPOULOU
ISSN:2314-9647 Catalogue number:KS-SF-13-032-EN-N
This article presents recent statistics on the tourism industries in the European Union (EU). While tourism statistics traditionally focus on either the accommodation sector or the demand side (from a household perspective), and relate mainly to physical flows (arrivals or nights spent at tourist accommodation establishments or trips made by residents of a country), this analysis is based on economic data extracted from other areas of official statistics, in particular structural business statistics (SBS) and short-term business statistics (STS).
Thus a more complete economic picture can be drawn of this sector, which is an important motor for many countries' economies and labour markets.
The publication 'International Recommendations for Tourism Statistics 2008' lists ten internationally comparable activities and two country-specific ones for the tourism sector, also called 'tourism industries' or 'tourism characteristic activities'. This article focuses on the former, the internationally comparable ones (see Table 1 for an overview and their corresponding ISIC and NACE codes). Except for the ones in the area of culture, sports and recreation, these activities are covered by SBS.
The reader is strongly encouraged to consult the 'Data sources and availability' section before using the presented data, in order to avoid overestimating the economic importance of tourism for some industries.
Main statistical findings
In 2010, more than one in seven enterprises in the European non-financial business economy belonged to the tourism industries (see Table 2, Table 3, Figure 1). These 3.4 million enterprises employed an estimated 15.2 million persons. Enterprises in industries with tourism related activities accounted for 11 % of the persons employed in the non-financial business economy and 29 % of persons employed in the services sector.
The tourism industries' shares in total turnover and value added at factor cost were relatively lower, with the tourism industries accounting for 6 % of the turnover and 9 % of the value added of the non-financial business economy. These figures very likely reflect - among other explanations - the higher share of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and of the level of part-time employment in some typical tourism industries.
As explained in the "Data sources and availability" section, tourism industries do not provide services only to tourists. Their employment, turnover, etc. can also be related to services provided to non-tourists. In Tables 2 and 3, the subdivision “mainly tourism” and “partially tourism” tries to take this into account. For instance, 3 million persons are employed in industries that are assumed to serve predominantly tourists while 12 million persons are employed in industries where the customers are likely to be a mix of tourists and non-tourists.
Analysis by subsectors
More than one in two enterprises in the tourism industries operated in accommodation (NACE I55) or food and beverage serving activities (NACE I56), 8 % and 44 % respectively (see Table 2, Table 3, Figure 1). When looking at the number of persons employed, the weight of these activities was even more pronounced representing nearly 2 out of every 3 jobs in the tourism industries. However, in terms of turnover and value added, their share was 34 %, while the share of real estate activities (NACE L68) accounted for 32 % of the turnover and 40 % of the value added at factor cost generated by the tourism industries.
The turnover of passenger transport related industries (parts of NACE H49, H50, H51) represented 18% of the turnover for all tourism industries: nearly half of this share cam from the subsector of passenger air transport (NACE H5110).
Travel agencies (NACE N7911) and tour operators (NACE N7912) recorded a turnover of 75 billion and 64 billion euro respectively in 2010. The two activities taken together represented 11 % of the turnover in tourism industries, as compared to a 4 % share in value added at factor cost, a 3 % share in employment and a 2 % share in number of enterprises.
Out of the 3.4 million enterprises in the tourism industries in the EU in 2010, 56 % were located in four Member States: 561 319 in Italy, 473 932 in Spain, 438 861 in France and 426 330 in Germany (see Table 4).
In terms of employment (see Table 5), Germany recorded 2.7 million persons employed in the tourism industries, followed by the United Kingdom (2.5 million), Italy (1.8 million) and Spain (1.7 million) (no data available for France). The highest shares of employment in the tourism industries in the total non-financial business economy were observed in Ireland (18 %) and the Netherlands (15 %), followed by Austria, the United Kingdom and Spain (14 %) (note that data on total employment in the tourism industries is missing for a significant number of countries).
The availability of the monetary indicators is very fragmented, but for Germany, the biggest EU economy, turnover and value added of the tourism industries amounted to 228 billion and 110 billion euro respectively (see Table 6, Table 7). Expressed as share of the total non-financial business economy, the German tourism industries accounted for 5% of the total turnover and 9% of the total value added at factor cost.
The above sections were based on structural business statistics (SBS). While SBS is a rich and comprehensive source of information on European businesses, one of its limitations is the one year reference period of the data. Compared to other branches of the economy, the tourism sector has a relatively strong seasonal component, hence the need for infra-annual data to complete the analysis. Short-term business statistics provide monthly and quarterly indices for a subset of tourism industries.
Figure 2 shows for the EU-28, for the period January 2007 to January 2013, both the monthly evolution of the working days adjusted turnover (2010 index = 100) for accommodation and for food and beverage services, and the monthly evolution of nights spent in hotels and similar establishments and in all tourist accommodation establishments. Figures 3 to 12 show, for the period January 2010 to September 2013, the country detail for ten countries where monthly data (even fragmented) is available for the two industries mentioned above as well as for travel agencies and tour operators.
For the EU-28 aggregate and in most of the countries for which data is available, the seasonality of the turnover in accommodation correlates well with the physical indicator of the number of overnight stays. The accommodation sector showed the most pronounced seasonal pattern while for travel agencies and tour operators and especially food and beverage services, turnover was less concentrated in the peak (summer) months. This observation can be linked to the methodological issue mentioned in the introduction and under the data sources and availability chapter, namely that this analysis covers all services performed by enterprises in the tourism industries, regardless of whether the final consumer was a tourist; this remark is obviously more relevant for food and beverage services than for accommodation services.
Data sources and availability
Structural business statistics (SBS) are among the key pillars of business statistics in the European Statistical System (ESS) and describe the structure, main characteristics and performance of economic activities across the European Union. Data is available at a detailed level of economic activities, which allows to identify and select industries that are part of the tourism sector. The International Recommendations for Tourism Statistics 2008 include in the tourism sector (also: 'tourism industries' or 'tourism characteristic activities') ten internationally comparable activities and two country-specific activities – this article focuses on the former. An overview of these activities (and the corresponding codes in the international classifications ISIC and NACE) is given in Table 1. Except for those in the area of culture, sports and recreation, these activities are covered by SBS.
It should be pointed out that this approach cannot distinguish between services provided to tourists and to non-tourists – typical examples include restaurants catering to tourists but also to locals and railway passenger transport used by tourists as well as by commuters. An assessment of the so-called tourism ratio for each of these industries is outside the scope of this article. Considering the total turnover or employment will give an overestimation of the true economic importance of tourism for these industries (but on the other hand, tourism also contributes to other industries not listed in Table 1). Notwithstanding these shortcomings, SBS data allows for an economic analysis of the sector which is not possible using only the traditional tourism statistics. A second relevant source within existing business statistics is short-term business statistics (STS). STS can fill the gap of information on turnover or prices where monthly accommodation statistics are limited to evolutions in flows of tourists. As a trade-off with its strong timeliness, STS is available with a lower granularity of activities for services; as a consequence the further analysis of monthly economic indicators focuses on accommodation (NACE I55), food and beverage service activities (NACE I56) and travel agency, tour operator reservation service and related activities (NACE N79).
Subsequent versions of this publication will be enriched with additional variables (e.g. full-time equivalent employment) and breakdowns (e.g. size class) or with data from other sources that were not considered for this article (e.g. Labour Force Survey and Balance of Payments statistics).
Tourism statistics traditionally focus on the accommodation sector on the one hand and the demand side (from a household perspective) on the other hand. The available tourism statistics relate mainly to physical flows: arrivals or nights spent at tourist accommodation establishments or trips made by residents of a country.
This article presents economic data extracted from other areas of official statistics, in particular structural business statistics (SBS) and short-term business statistics (STS), in order to provide users with a better economic analysis of this sector that is an important motor for many countries' economies and labour market.
Further Eurostat information
- Tourism (t_tour), see:
- Monthly data on tourism industries (t_tour_indm)
- Annual data on tourism industries (t_tour_inda)
- Tourism (tour), see:
- Monthly data on tourism industries (tour_indm)
- Annual data on tourism industries (tour_inda)
- Trade and services (sts_ts)
- Services (sts_os)
Methodology / Metadata
- Methodological manual for tourism statistics
- Occupancy of tourist accommodation establishments (ESMS metadata file - tour_occ_esms)
Source data for tables, figures and maps (MS Excel)
- Commission Implementing Regulation 1051/2011 of 20 October 2011 implementing Regulation 692/2011 concerning European statistics on tourism, as regards the structure of the quality reports and the transmission of the data.
- Regulation 692/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2011 concerning European statistics on tourism and repealing Council Directive 95/57/EC.