Based on Eurostat Statistics and the WTO, tourism activity in the EU generates 9,7 million jobs, contributing more than 10% the EU GPD, providing about 12% of the labour force in the EU, with about 1,8 millions enterprises, most of them SMEs and micro-enterprises.
Another key factor to consider is the EU continues being the first tourist destination in the world; more than 500 millions of international tourists arrive every year (40% of the global worldwide quote) and based on the WTO report on forecasts for the present decade a sustained growth higher than 5%/year is forecasted. In fact France, Spain and Italy are the five main tourist destinations around the world.
Already on the environmental level, in particular, on the GHG emissions ambit, tourism sector generates about 5% of the total CO2 emissions. Transport, the accommodations and tourist activities are the main subsectors responsible for this.
But, apart from the afore mentioned figures, it is advisable to study in depth and to analyse following facts:
a) Unlike other sectors, tourism, apart from contributing to global heating by the GHG emissions, is a direct victim of itself due to the existing relation "environment-climate-tourism". Climate variations are affecting already on tourists' behavior and on the different options and modalities.
b) Unplanned tourism development causes a harmful impact on environment, besides the frequent lack of limits to the ecologic footprint or the existence of a previous start analysis of the "tourism load capacity" of the very same tourist resource, with a view they to continue being sustainable.
c) Tourist's behavior uses to be different from his behavior at his home address or habitual residence and this tends to represent a higher environmental cost in terms of carbon footprint that does not result in an increase of his service invoice.