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The resilience of European tourism

Posted by Nick Prag at 29 September 2017, 00:17 CET |
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World Tourism Day on 27th September exists to foster awareness internationally of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. The UN designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

The sector was badly affected by the recent economic crisis, and it faces a number of challenges and mounting competition, such as its impact on the environment and local life, precarious jobs and increasing competition from countries outside the EU.

And it has a unique, two-way relationship with the environment. On the one hand, the quality of the environment is essential to tourism's success; on the other hand, tourism creates significant pressures and impact on the environment.

Adverse effects of tourism development relate to strains on natural resources; pollution; and physical impacts, typically involving the degradation of ecosystems.

Climate change and tourism are closely interlinked. While the tourism sector contributes to greenhouse gas emission for the most part derived from the transport of tourists, it also faces profound impacts from global warming.

But the benefits of tourism are great.

Tourism represents an important tool in combating youth unemployment, especially in several southern regions of Europe where one out of two youths are unemployed.

According to the World Tourism and Travel Council, more than 5 million new jobs linked to tourism may be created in the European Union over the next 10 years. 20% of these jobs go to young people under 25. Tourism represents a main avenue to combat youth unemployment.

And it has proved resilient, with the number of visitors to the EU keeping growing despite outside competition.

Tourism is the third-largest economic activity in the EU, a major source of economic growth, regional development and employment. It generates more than 5% of the EU's gross domestic product. In 2014 some 582 million tourists visited EU countries.

World Tourism Day

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Nick Prag

Nick Prag

Nick Prag is founder and managing editor of Prior to EUbusiness, he was senior editor at Europe Online SA in Luxembourg, where he played a major part in the launch of Europe Online International.