Accommodation and food service statistics - NACE Rev. 2
Data from March 2020
Planned article update: March 2021
This article presents an overview of statistics for the European Union’s (EU) accommodation and food services sector, as covered by NACE Rev. 2 Section I. These activities make up a significant part of tourism supply, although they also serve local clients and business customers. This article belongs to a set of statistical articles on 'Business economy by sector'.
The accommodation and food services sector recorded value added of EUR 222.3 million in the EU-27 in 2017 and employed almost 10.2 million persons, many of them on a part-time basis and also characterised by a large number of working proprietors and unpaid family workers. The accommodation and food services sector’s contribution to the non-financial business economy (Sections B to J and L to N and Division 95) employment was therefore much higher (8.1 % of the total) than its contribution to value added (3.6 %). Almost 1.9 million enterprises operated in the EU-27’s accommodation and food services sector with a share of 8.3 % of the total number of enterprises in the non-financial business economy, reflecting the small average size of the enterprises.
Apparent labour productivity of EUR 22 000 per person employed was recorded in 2017 for the EU-27’s accommodation and food services sector alongside average personnel costs of EUR 17 900 per employee, in both cases the lowest values among any of the NACE sections included within the non-financial business economy. However, both of these indicators are pulled downwards by the traditionally high incidence of part-time employment in the accommodation and food services sector. The wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio is not directly affected by part-time employment as it shows the ratio between value added and total personnel costs without relating this to the number of persons producing the output or receiving wages and salaries. The combination of low productivity and personnel costs in the EU-27’s accommodation and food services sector led to a wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio of 122.0 % in 2017, which was the fourth lowest value across the NACE sections within the non-financial business economy and considerably below the average (142.7 %) of the non-financial business economy. By contrast, the gross operating rate which shows the share of turnover that remains after paying for purchased goods and services and personnel costs (in other words, the gross operating surplus) was 13.3 % for the EU-27’s accommodation and food services sector in 2017; which was one third higher than the non-financial business economy average (10.1 %).
According to most structural business indicators, the food and beverages subsector (Division 56) is larger than the accommodation subsector (Division 55). The food and beverages subsector accounted for 82.2 % of all enterprises in the EU-27’s accommodation and food services sector in 2017, 76.6 % of the persons employed and 64.5 % of sectoral value added.
The low apparent labour productivity figure for the EU-27’s accommodation and food services sector in 2017 was pulled downwards by the food and beverages subsector, where an average of EUR 18 000 of value was added per person employed, compared with EUR 33 000 within the accommodation subsector. As such, the food and beverages subsector had the lowest apparent labour productivity ratio in 2017 among all NACE divisions within the non-financial business economy. Equally, average personnel costs were lower for the food and beverages subsector (EUR 16 300) than for the accommodation subsector (EUR 22 900). The EU-27’s food and beverages subsector recorded the lowest level of average personnel costs among the non-financial business economy NACE divisions in 2017. As already noted, many activities in the accommodation and food services sector have a high incidence of part-time employment and wage-adjusted labour productivity is an indicator that is less influenced by this characteristic. The accommodation subsector recorded a wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio of 145.0 %, relatively close to the non-financial business economy average (142.7 %), while the food and beverages subsector recorded a ratio of 113.0 %.
For the gross operating rate, the above average value for the whole of the EU-27’s accommodation and food sector (13.3 % in 2017) was pulled up by the 18.7 % rate recorded for the accommodation subsector, although the gross operating rate for the food and beverages subsector (10.8 %) was also above the non-financial business economy average (10.1 %).
In absolute terms, Germany recorded the highest level of value added within the accommodation and food services sector in 2017 (EUR 44.4 billion), which was equivalent to 20.0 % of the EU-27 total. France (18.9 %), Italy (15.0 %) and Spain (14.5 %) also contributed more than one tenth of EU-27 value added while the contribution of the Netherlands was 5.1 %. These five Member States collectively provided 73.5 % of the EU-27’s value added in the accommodation and food services sector in 2017. In employment terms, this unusually high concentration of activity within the largest EU Member States was similarly visible; 68.2 % of the accommodation and food services sector’s workforce were employed in the top five Member States — see Figure 3. Germany had the largest share of EU-27 value added for accommodation services with 7.1 % and France contributed to EU-27 value added for food and beverage services with 14.0 %,see Table 3.
In Cyprus, 18.5 % of the non-financial business economy employment was active in accommodation and food services in 2017, while these sectors accounted for 13.7 % of Cyprus’ non-financial business economy value added — see Figure 2. As such, Cyprus was, by far, the most specialised EU Member State in the accommodation and food services sector and this pattern was repeated for the accommodation subsector, and the food and beverage subsector. In value added terms, Croatia, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Spain were the next most specialised Member States for accommodation and food services, with Greece, Malta and Croatia specialised more within the accommodation subsector and Spain and Portugal within the food and beverages subsector. France and Italy, as well as the United Kingdom, were also relatively specialised in the food and beverages subsector. The EU Member States that were least specialised in the accommodation and food services sector included Poland and Slovakia, where the accommodation and food services sector contributed less than or equal to 1.5 % of non-financial business economy value added.
A further analysis shows that Cyprus had also the highest wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio among the EU Member States in the accommodation and food sector in 2017, at 187.0 %, followed by Malta (176.8 %), Croatia (166.0 %), Romania and the Netherlands (both above 150.0 %). Greece (94.8 %) and Sweden (99.1 %) were the only EU Member States in the accommodation and food sector with a wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio below parity (100.0 %).
Size class analysis
The enterprise size structure of the EU-27’s accommodation and food services sector would appear to be dominated by SMEs (small and medium enterprises) employing les then 250 persons. These enterprises together employed 87.8 % of the EU-27’s accommodation and food services employment in 2017 and generated 79.8 % of its value added. The significance of large enterprises (employing 250 or more persons) was relatively small with only 12.2 % of the EU-27’s total employment and 20.2 % of its value added in the accommodation and food sector.
The share of micro enterprises was particularly high for the EU-27’s food and beverage services subsector, generating 37.6 % of the value added and contributing to 47.2 % of the total employment in this subsector in 2017.
In 2017, large enterprises in the accommodation and food services sector generated less than one third of value added in all of the EU Member States for which data are available, except for France (33.3 %) and Croatia (39.3 %), where the relative weight of large enterprises was well above the EU-27 average — see Table 6b; large enterprises also accounted for a relatively high share of value added in Cyprus, Slovenia and Finland. The share of value added stemming from medium-sized enterprises exceeded one third of the total in Bulgaria, Ireland, Greece and Malta, while small enterprises accounted for more than a third of total value added in Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Lithuania, Austria, Romania and Sweden. In most of the other Member States (for which data are available), micro enterprises generated the largest share of value added, exceeding 40.0 % in Belgium and Italy.
The largest regional employment in the accommodation and food services sector, across NUTS level 2 regions within the EU-27, were generally in capital city regions, other regions with major cities, and regions well-known as tourist destinations. The top 20 regions, in terms of employment in the accommodation and food services sector included the capital city regions of France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands. Other large cities in regions in the top 20 included Milan in Italy, Munich and Köln in Germany, Barcelona and Sevilla in Spain. The top 20 regions together accounted for 34.0 % of the EU-27’s accommodation and food services employment.
The relative significance of the accommodation and food services sector can be analysed by comparing the employment of this sector with the total for non-financial business economy employment. Among the 171 NUTS level 2 regions for which data are available in 2017, the median share of the accommodation and food services sector in the non-financial business economy employment was 7.4 %. Employment within the accommodation and food services sector was quite concentrated, with relatively high and low shares observed across the regions, ranging from a low of just 1.3 % of the non-financial business economy employment in Mazowiecki regionalny (Poland) to a high 56.1 % in Notio Aigaio (Greece).
Unsurprisingly, the list of regions that were highly specialised in the accommodation and food services sector was dominated by coastal and mountainous regions that are associated with tourism. In 55 regions, the accommodation and food services sector employed 10.0 % or more of the non-financial business economy in 2017 with top 12 regions employing more than 20.0 %. These regions included: seven Greek regions, two each from Italy and Spain (island regions) and one region in Portugal.
At the other end of the scale, there were eight regions where the accommodation and food services employment was less than 3.0 % of the non-financial business economy employment, all of them in Poland.
The provision of accommodation services (Division 55) covers hotels and other provision of short-stay accommodation; activities related to the provision of long-term primary residences are excluded and are covered by real estate activities (Section L). The food and beverage services subsector (Division 56) provides complete meals or drinks fit for immediate consumption, regardless of the type of facility supplying the service; sit-down and take-away restaurants are included, as well as bars, canteens and catering services. Note that these activities do not cover the provision of food or drinks that are sold through independent distribution channels, in other words through wholesale or retail trade activities (Section G).
It is important to bear in mind (in keeping with all structural business statistics) that only enterprises for which the provision of accommodation, food or beverages is the principal activity are covered by the statistics presented in this article. Enterprises offering food and drink as a complement to their core business are not included and in some cases meals and beverages may represent a significant secondary activity — for example, the sale of food and beverages in stadiums, cinemas or recreation parks (if these are not operated by separate enterprises).
The analysis presented in this article is based on the main dataset for structural business statistics (SBS), size class data and regional data, all of which are published annually.
The main series provides information for each EU Member State as well as a number of non-member countries at a detailed level according to the activity classification NACE. Data are available for a wide range of variables.
In structural business statistics, size classes are generally defined by the number of persons employed. A limited set of the standard structural business statistics variables (for example, the number of enterprises, turnover, persons employed and value added) are analyzed by size class, mostly down to the three-digit (group) level of NACE. The main size classes used in this article for presenting the results are:
- small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): with 1 to 249 persons employed, further divided into;
- micro enterprises: with less than 10 persons employed;
- small enterprises: with 10 to 49 persons employed;
- medium-sized enterprises: with 50 to 249 persons employed;
- large enterprises: with 250 or more persons employed.
Regional SBS data are available at NUTS levels 1 and 2 for the EU Member States, Iceland and Norway, mostly down to the two-digit (division) level of NACE. The main variable analyzed in this article is the number of persons employed. The type of statistical unit used for regional SBS data is normally the local unit, which is an enterprise or part of an enterprise situated in a geographically identified place. Local units are classified into sectors (by NACE) normally according to their own main activity, but in some EU Member States the activity code is assigned on the basis of the principal activity of the enterprise to which the local unit belongs. The main SBS data series are presented at national level only, and for this national data the statistical unit is the enterprise. It is possible for the principal activity of a local unit to differ from that of the enterprise to which it belongs. Hence, national SBS data from the main series are not necessarily directly comparable with national aggregates compiled from regional SBS.
Tourism plays an important role in Europe and makes a considerable contribution to employment and regional development, as well as a range of other EU objectives, such as sustainable development or the enhancement of natural and cultural heritage.
One of the main characteristics of tourism-related activities is their high income elasticity of demand, which increases or reduces more easily than for many other products or services. As such, spending on tourism generally decreases proportionally faster than consumers’ income during times of economic slowdown. Moreover, political or economic uncertainties (for example, when exchange rates change rapidly) tend to lead to a diversion of tourism demand, resulting in shifts between outbound tourism and domestic tourism. Furthermore, a downturn in economic fortunes is also likely to result in reduced business activity; this in turn may be reflected in fewer business trips and nights spent in hotels, as well as less corporate entertainment.
In June 2010, the European Commission adopted a Communication titled Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination — a new political framework for tourism in Europe. This Communication addresses issues such as: the impact of the changing global economy on tourism, as well as various challenges to be faced by the providers of tourism services, such as seasonality of demand or an ageing population. The Communication outlines policies to stimulate competitiveness: to support diversification of tourism supply, develop innovation, improve professional skills, encourage an extension of the tourism season, and consolidate the socio-economic knowledge base for tourism. Further policies concern the promotion of the development of sustainable, responsible and high-quality tourism, the consolidation of the image and profile of Europe as a collection of sustainable and high-quality tourist destinations, and the maximization of the potential of EU financial policies and instruments for developing tourism.
As a follow-up to the communication, the European Commission launched a ‘50 000 tourists’ pilot initiative in 2011 in an attempt to combat seasonality, stimulate the creation of employment, strengthen the image of Europe, and to cooperate with non-member countries. The first pilot intends to encourage 25 000 South Americans to travel to Europe during the off-season between October 2012 and March 2013, and for 25 000 Europeans to travel to South America between May and October 2013.
EDEN is an acronym for European Destinations of Excellence , a project run by the European Commission to promote sustainable tourism development models. The project is based on national competitions that take place every year which result in the selection of tourist destinations of excellence in each participating country. The European Commission has been running EDEN since 2006.
More detailed analysis of accommodation and food service activities:
- SBS – services (serv)
- Annual detailed enterprise statistics for services (sbs_na_serv)
- Annual detailed enterprise statistics for services (NACE Rev. 2 H-N and S95) (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
- SMEs - Annual enterprise statistics by size class - services (sbs_sc_sc)
- Services by employment size class (NACE Rev. 2 H-N and S95) (sbs_sc_1b_se_r2)
- Annual detailed enterprise statistics for services (sbs_na_serv)
- SBS - regional data - all activities (sbs_r)
- SBS data by NUTS 2 regions and NACE Rev. 2 (from 2008 onwards) (sbs_r_nuts06_r2)