Tourism in Europe: a rapidly recovering industry

Tourism in Europe: a rapidly recovering industry

Expert Reports  
лошади Камарг Франция

The tourism sector in Europe, which was initially severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, seems to be gaining strength again and may exceed the pre-pandemic figures as early as 2023.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in Europe before the COVID-19 pandemic, travel and tourism provided 4.4% of regional GDP and 6.9% of the total number of jobs.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, globally, the tourism industry accounted for more than 330 million jobs, or one in ten of the total.

The pandemic has actually destroyed a thriving industry, the basis of which is the freedom of movement of people.

International travel has declined sharply since March 2020. As a result of the closure of borders, the number of international arrivals, according to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), decreased by 70-75%. Tourists have become less by 1 billion people, and their expenses have decreased by $1.1 billion in less than a year. This is 10 times higher than the deficit of tourist spending in 2009 after the financial crisis that began in 2007.

According to the OECD forecast, tourism will be one of the last sectors of the economy to recover lost demand after the end of the crisis associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The key importance of France

France is the most popular destination in the world and the basis of the European tourism industry.

According to forecast estimates, the influx of foreign tourists to the country may surpass the pre-pandemic level already in 2023, when it will grow by 2.2% compared to 2019.

However, the process of restoring the tourism sector in France can be stalled by a shortage of staff. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the number of vacancies in the national tourism industry now reaches 220,000 and eventually one of the seven vacancies will not be filled.

This shortage of labor is a serious problem for the industry, and it is important that supply and demand meet its requirements.

To make work attractive, industry employers need to change working conditions, provide a greater degree of social protection, better training and remuneration opportunities. Recall that 62 million people lost their jobs in the tourism sector worldwide due to the pandemic.

In the long run, the link between the growth of wealth and the desire to travel will remain unchanged. The recovery of the tourism industry is expected to more than double global economic growth in the next few years. According to the WTO forecast, in France over the next decade, the average annual GDP growth in the travel and tourism sector will be 2.8% and reach almost 264 billion euro (9% of the national budget).

The popularity of ecotourism

Sustainable tourism is becoming increasingly popular among travelers. They are paying more and more attention to the social and environmental consequences of their decisions, which affects the choice of tourist products they purchase.

Tour operators use this opportunity to offer the most demanding customers an alternative to "mass consumption" by connecting more responsible institutions in terms of environmental choice, such as, for example, Voyageurs du Monde, a French tour operator specializing in individual tours and adventure tourism.

There is also a trend in the development of specialized tourism, which combines pleasure and functionality for travelers.