New research maps the value of the entire hospitality sector for the first time

How deeply rooted is the hospitality sector in society? What would society look like without people being able to relax, eat out, camp, play sports, meet each other, enjoy culture, travel and attend events? Together with CELTH and Gastvrij Nederland, we have answered that question in the research project: Social value of tourism and recreation. For the first time, it has shown the value of the hospitality sector for the Dutch economy and especially for society as a whole.

No thriving society, happiness and health without a tourism and recreation sector

Entrepreneurs from the broad hospitality sector are responsible for 91.2 billion in turnover and more than 800,000 jobs. Worldwide, even 1 in 10 people work in the sector. However, the importance of tourism and recreation is much broader. It improves the quality of life, makes people healthier and happier and connects groups of people. The sector contributes to the success of other sectors (income and employment of suppliers) and to the business climate. Entrepreneurs create jobs in areas where there is (traditionally) less work and the presence of (business) tourists and holidaymakers is essential for shops and for public facilities. The government has an important task to fulfill in this. This task could be better fulfilled which is indisputably made clear from the new research.

Crisis makes the importance of the sector visible

The measures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic clearly show the effects of closing the sector almost completely on society. Kees van Wijk, chairman of Gastvrij Nederland: “We already knew that the hospitality sector contributes nearly 4.5% to our Gross Domestic Product, but the contribution to our Gross National Happiness is just as important and, if possible, even greater.”

Government must coordinate better

The interweaving of tourism and recreation with other sectors and society requires much closer cooperation with other sectors and better coordination on governmental level. Then the strength of the sector is best shown. Jeroen Klijs, professor of social impacts of tourism at Breda University of Applied Sciences and project leader of the research project, adds: “The right preconditions are necessary to maintain and increase the positive social value of tourism and recreation. More intensive cooperation between governments, entrepreneurs and educational and knowledge institutions and the active involvement of residents is necessary.

Call immediately after the election

On the basis of this new research, Gastvrij Nederland immediately after the elections issued an appeal to politicians with ten concrete points to ensure that the sector can make an even greater contribution to society after the COVID-19 crisis. Would you like to stay informed? Do not hesitate to contact Jasper Heslinga.

Download the research report.

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Jasper is an expert in tourism analytics and data science.