Tourism: €572 billion gross value added in the EU. The countries with the highest shares of tourism
In 2019, the last year before the COVID-19 pandemic heavily hit the tourism sector, the gross value added directly generated by tourism amounted to an estimated €572 billion, or 5% of the total gross value added in the EU economy.
Among the countries for which data are available, the highest shares of tourism in total gross value added were observed in Croatia (11%), Portugal (8%), Spain (7%), Italy (6%) and Austria (5%). In absolute terms, the highest tourism direct gross value added was generated in Germany (€124 billion), followed by Italy (€100 billion) and France (€87 billion).
Tourism direct gross value added: -32% in the first year of the pandemic
Based on 2020 data for around half of the EU countries, total direct gross value added dropped by €184 billion ( 32% compared with 2019) during the first year affected by the pandemic, causing a decrease in the share of the tourism sector in the economy (-1 percentage point; pp). This drop at the annual level corresponded to €500 million less daily direct gross value added in 2020 compared with 2019.
The tourism sector’s decline aligns with earlier national account estimates. In 2020, among the 64 industries in the economy, three of the four that experienced over 25% decrease in gross value added were tourism-related: travel services (-67% compared with 2019), air transport (-66%), and hospitality (-41%).
- Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Hungary, Malta and Poland: data on tourism direct gross value added not available.