The upcoming summer season offers Europeans the chance to get some much-needed rest, relaxation and fresh air, and to catch up with friends and family. To make this happen in a safe way, there is a need for strict health and safety protocols. The Commission proposes a coordinated approach to allow a gradual restoration of mobility and connectivity as soon as the health situation allows, to support tourism’s recovery and enable a more sustainable industry in the future. EU tourism is one of the ecosystems most affected by the coronavirus.

Importance of tourism ecosystem in Europe

Europe is the leading tourist destination in the world. Tourism is at the centre of a huge ecosystem of businesses that contribute substantially to prosperity and jobs in all Member States.

  • money bag Contributes
    10% of EU
  • case 2.4 million
    over 90% of
    which SMEs
  • icon Global leader
    with 40% of
  • icon 85% of
    summer holidays
    in the EU
  • money icon € 0.56 of added
    for every
    €1 generated in

Member States most dependent on tourism are (as % of GDP):

  • Croatia (25%)
  • Cyprus (22%)
  • Greece (21%),
  • Portugal (19%)
  • Austria , Estonia, Spain (15%)
  • Italy (13%)
  • Slovenia, Bulgaria (12%)
  • Malta (11%),
  • France (10%)
  • Germany (9%)



Employment in tourism


  • icon 12% employment
  • icon 23 million
    direct and indirect jobs
  • lightbulb icon 37% of tourism workers
    are under 35
    years old


Impact of the coronavirus crisis

The coronavirus outbreak is putting the EU’s tourist industry under unprecedented pressure. It has led to the suspension of  most domestic and international travel, causing a significant reduction in revenue and creating liquidity issues for all tourism operators. Travellers and businesses alike face uncertain prospects.

Impact on global tourism


  • hotel icon
    UN World Tourism Organisation estimates a 60% reduction in international tourism
  • atm icon
    EUR 840-1000 billion in losses
    for global travel industry

Impact on EU tourism

  • map icon 60% to 90% reduction in
    compared to similar
    periods in previous years
  • helmet icon Estimated loss of 6 million
  • graph icon Significant estimated loss of
    • 85% hotels and restaurants
    • 85% for tour operators
    • 85% for long distance rail
    • 90% for cruises and airlines

The tourism ecosystem

The EU tourism ecosystem encompasses many types of business. off-line and on-line information and service providers, travel agents and tour operators, accommodation suppliers, destination management organisations, visitor attractions and passenger transport operators. Large multinational corporations operate alongside the SMEs. 


    Accommodation providers

    • Hotels
    • B'n'Bs
    • Campings


    • Food & beverage
    • Culture
    • Leisure activities
    • Sport

    Tourism travel operators

    • Tourist offices, travel agents, tour operators
    • Digital platforms
    • Technology providers


    • Airlines
    • Trains
    • Cruises
    • Buses and coaches


EU support to get tourism back on track

The EU is proposing a series of guidance documents to ensure a gradual and coordinated reopening of travel and tourism services and facilities as soon as the health situation allows, while respecting strict conditions to protect the health and safety of travellers and tourism workers across Europe.

For tourists/travellers

  • Safely reopening our borders and restoring unrestricted free movement
  • Restoring transport services of all kinds across the EU while protecting the health of transport workers and passengers
  • Safely resuming tourism services
  • Using digital technologies to give our people sufficient information to be able to plan for trips
  • Protecting consumer rights.

For tourism business

Providing liquidity for tourism businesses, in particular SMEs through:

  • Vouchers as an attractive and secure option to cash reimbursement
  • Saving jobs with up to €100 billion in financial relief from the SURE programme
  • Connecting citizens to local tourism offer, promoting local attractions and tourism and Europe as a safe tourist destination
  • Financial support through the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, EIF loans as well as flexible state aid rules.


Towards sustainable tourism

icon The current crisis is an opportunity to make the tourism industry more resilient and strengthen the green and digital transformation of EU tourism, maintaining Europe’s standing as a leading destination and maximising the industry’s contribution to growth and employment. A sustainable recovery needs affordable and more sustainable transport and improved connectivity, smart management of tourism flows, diversification of the tourism offer, the development of sustainability skills for tourism professionals and more effort to raise awareness of the variety of landscapes and the cultural diversity across Europe.




Factsheet: The EU helps reboot Europe's tourism