Tourism Sector in European Union

Tourism is a key driving force of the economy in European Union. This industry consists of a wide range of products and exotic destinations and involves several different stakeholders including both public (government) and private players.

The European Union tourism sector is a major industry in EU that generates a lot of foreign revenue and contributes significantly to the EU GDP, the sectors accounts for more than 5% of the total EU union.  More than 1.8 million enterprises are engaged in the business and the sector accounts for providing employment to more than 5.2% of the total labor force in European Union.  The sector is responsible for generating more than 9.7 million jobs in European Union.


The tourism sector in European Union holds an important position in contributing towards its economy not only in terms of generating revenue and employment opportunities but also towards development of the region and sustainable development of the country. Besides, the tourism sector in EU also contributes towards the development of the natural and cultural heritage and shaping the identity of the European continent.

The European Commission has recognized the importance of developing the tourism sector and its potential to enhance the growth of EU economy. To develop the tourism sector in the European Union, the European commission has been proactive is formulating policies to encourage competitiveness amongst the foreign players investing in the sector.

Growth and FDI figures:

As compared to other sectors the tourism sector contributes a major share to the GDP (gross domestic product) of the European Union. The tourism industry in the EU accounts for more than 10% of the total EU’s GDP. The sustainability of tourism sector in European Union calls for mutual understanding between the tourism enterprises, tourist destinations and local, regional and national authorities in order to tackle a wide range of challenges while at the same time address the local issues and remain competitive.

In this context, the European commission is addressing the several challenges that pose threat to dent the sector. The major obstacles in the development of the industry are the growing global competition (emergence of nations outside EU as prime tourist destinations especially Asia and Africa), evolving demand patterns for certain kinds of tourism such as eco tourism, cycling tourism, social tourism and nature tourism.

Key Sectors:

Tourism in Germany: Germany has been rated as one of the safest tourist destinations in the world, according to the travel and tourism competitiveness reports. In addition, Germany is also the third most visited country in the European continent, clocking a total of 369.6 million tourists in the year 2010. The official tourism body in Germany is known as the German National Tourist Board, or the GNTB. Surveys by this body have stated that the reasons for the tourism industry in Germany to be so successful is due to the mixture of its culture, which accounts for its seventy five percent of the tourists to visit the country.

The next factor is due its outdoors, accounting for 59 per cent, and cities, which have an equal weight-age. The next reason is due to the high level of cleanliness and security levels, followed by the modern amenities and the well maintained hotels. In addition, the good cuisine, accessibility, hospitality, shopping destinations, nightlife and good price to performance ratio adds to the appeal of the German tourism industry.

Tourism in Spain:
Tourism in Spain is a well-developed sector, and is especially visited by tourists from the United Kingdom, France, Scandinavia and Germany. In fact, Spain today has become the second most visited destination in the world, next to France. During the year 2007 alone, more than 60 million foreign tourists had visited the country. It is also the headquarters of the World Tourism Organization. On an annual basis, the tourism industry of Spain spends a total of more than £1478 billion, or $68 billion.

This is the second highest tourism spending in the world, next only to the United States with $74 billion.
Summer resorts and beaches are the first tourist’s spots to have developed in Spain, and still generate the maximum income in the Spanish Economy. These are especially important tourist destinations for foreign tourists who come from the Northern European areas. The mild climate that dominates through the entire year in Spain provides relief for these foreign tourists, who experience continuous cold climate in the Northern regions.

Tourism in Denmark: Tourism in Denmark is mainly consisted of foreign tourists from the neighboring countries of Germany, Sweden, Netherlands and Norway. It recorded a total of 4.7 million foreign tourists during the year 2007, and is consequentially ranked as the 43rd position in the UNWTO world tourism rankings. Denmark’s main attractions are its sandy beaches that attract tourists from Germany.  The Copenhagen region had reported a total of 4.9 million nights spent by tourists in its 136 hotels in the year 2004. In addition, a total of 250 cruise liners called the Copenhagen port in that year, arriving with more than 350,000 tourists.

Investment Incentives:

With a view to boost the tourism sector in European Union the European Commission in October 2007 has adopted its Agenda for a sustainable and competitive European tourism. The basic motive of this agenda is to develop a framework for the implementation of policies in the tourism domain and in other sectors related to tourism and provides investors in the tourism sector with added value.


The ‘Invest in Spain’ is a government national enterprise that works towards the promotion of investment in different sectors in the country.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark works as a central agency to promote FDI in different sectors in country. The respective agencies of the countries provide comprehensive information about the legal framework, investment opportunities, tax incentives, marketplace and subsidies available in each sector in their country.


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