Tourism, that lousy investment

There is a popular believe in how good tourism is for the economy of a country or a region. Personally, I always had my doubts, but it seemed always that touristic activity was moving lots of money. Actually, this mantra of tourism=money has justified in the past many of the crazy investments that are today known as construction bubble and it is the origin of the current crisis.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some data. The data used for this exercise is all from Eurostat, and the following datasets have been used (at regional level):
– Number of beds in 2010
– Unemployment rate in 2010

Of course this information must be read with care. There are many other variables influencing the unemployment rate but, if there is a clear pattern between investments in tourism and employment, it should be seen. This could be expected as regional level or at least at country level (let’s not forget that most of tourism is internal).
So, let’s take a first look at the very well known map of unemployment in the EU.

This map does not deserve lots of comments since the unemployment situation is very well known. This said, let’s take a look at the map that represents the number of beds available.

As it can be seen, the situation changes from country to country. For example, in France and Poland there seems to be a direct relationship (more unemployment and more beds). This correlation is also strong in the UK. Spain and Italy show some variations, but still there seems to be a tendency that correlates unemployment with number of beds available. Some areas close to the Alps show a high number of beds and low unemployment rate, but they do not show a lower unemployment rate than neighboring regions.

With the data shown here should surprise no one. I mean, after all, tourism create stationary and low quality employment, and that is the first employment that suffers when crisis come along.

Anyway, data is here, conclusions are up to the reader.


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