Tourism could cre­ate more jobs

Econ­omy re­lies heav­ily on ac­co­mo­da­tion and food ser­vice for em­ploy­ment, but there is po­ten­tial for more

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

Em­ploy­ment in Greece owes a lot to tourism, and the po­ten­tial is there for an even greater con­tri­bu­tion to the la­bor mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to a study by the La­bor In­sti­tute of the Gen­eral Con­fed­er­a­tion of Greek La­bor (INE/GSEE).

The study, ti­tled “Tourism and Growth: Main Fig­ures, Sec­tor In­ter­con­nec­tions, Agri­cul­tural and Food Sys­tem,” showed that tourism’s di­rect con­tri­bu­tion to em­ploy­ment (through ac­com­mo­da­tion, trans­port, food ser­vice etc) amounts to 15.5 per­cent of the en­tire econ­omy, while its to­tal con­tri­bu­tion (in­cor­po­rat­ing sec­tors that ben­e­fit from tourism such as re­tail­ing, food in­dus­try etc) reaches up to 33-39 per­cent.

Still, the INE/GSEE study records tourism’s in­abil­ity to keep the job­less rate in re­sort ar­eas be­low the na­tional av­er­age, or even to re­duce un­em­ploy­ment when tourism peaks. This is de­spite the dy­namic in­crease in ar­rivals af­ter 2012.

The case of Crete is cited as a typ­i­cal ex­am­ple: The study in­di­cates that while un­em­ploy­ment on the south­ern Greek is­land over the tourism sea­son (from June to Septem­ber) stood at just over half the coun­try’s av­er­age in 2009, in 2010 and 2011 it climbed to 80 per­cent, while since 2012 it has re­mained at the same level as in the off-sea­son.

The In­sti­tute of the Greek Tourism Con­fed­er­a­tion (SETE) yes­ter­day used data from the La­bor Min­istry’s Er­gani hir­ings data­base to show that while in June the net in­crease in jobs across the econ­omy amounted to 40,599, the net growth in ac­com­mo­da­tion alone reached 25,349 more jobs and in food ca­ter­ing 35,387: This means that the rise in salaried em­ploy­ment in tourism has been big­ger than that of the en­tire econ­omy, due 1.1727 to the job losses in other sec­tors of the econ­omy, such as in ed­u­ca­tion due to the end of the school year.

The de­cline in the av­er­age length of stay and ex­pen­di­ture per trip serves as a hin­drance to em­ploy­ment in tourism: INE/GSEE fig­ures il­lus­trate that the av­er­age stay per trip to Greece has shrunk from 10.7 days in 2005 to just 6.9 days in 2016, while the av­er­age ex­pen­di­ture per trip has di­min­ished from 745.7 eu­ros in 2005 to 470.5 eu­ros last year.

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