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Tourism Sector Lacks Pertinent Data

The decision making process for most business enterprises and for the formation of a general economic sector policy, such as a tourism policy, begins with the attempt to obtain as much data as possible. Greece and Europe’s tourism sector in general, however, lack the pertinent data required in order to make such decisions. In order to confront the problem, the World Tourism Organization has been pushing country tourism organizations to adopt its satellite account method and many countries have promised to do so, including Greece.

The private sector has yet to progress to such a stage. Here, it’s not what method is used but rather the general difficulty in obtaining the information required to support a policy or business decision. According to the latest available data from such organizations as the group of national travel agents’ and tour operators’ associations within the EU, or ECTAA, it appears that many tourism agent associations within Europe either do not have basic information or are not inclined to pass information on to the group association. Greece is one of those countries.

A look at the following ECTAA tables for the 5-year period 1996-2001, although far from complete, gives the impression that the travel agencies and tour operators throughout most of Europe are doing well and increasing in both numbers and revenue. And this data comes during a period where most complained of a loss in business due to a slow economy and stiff competition.

It’s interesting to note that the number of officially recognized travel agencies in Greece totaled around 4,435 in 2001 -with a similar number registered in Turkey- when the world’s number one tourism destination, France, counted 5,500 agencies but almost double the number of employees. Figures also show France doubled the number of agencies in the five-year period without a major increase in employment.

Number of travel agents and tour operators in Europe

1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
Austria
2.700
2.803
2.797
2.580
2.540
na
Belgium
2.600
na
na
na
na
na
Denmark
597
na
676
690
600
580
Finland
430
490
520
580
613
671
France
2.840
2.900
na
2.900
5.500
5.500
Germany
18.700
17.900
17.700
na
21.500
20.800
Greece
4.700
na
na
na
na
4.435
Ireland
395
na
na
na
na
na
Italy
6.000
6.550
6.900
7.500
8.500
9.000
Luxembourg
39
na
na
na
na
119
The Netherlands
1.100
na
na
1.500
923
990
Portugal
614
667
688
722
744
762
Spain
2.830
na
3.073
3.446
3.813
3.900
Sweden
600
600
600
810
700
570
United Kingdom
7.259
7.316
7.404
9.563
9.400
7.697
Cyprus
418
413
417
426
451
451
Estonia
188
186
215
244
273
na
Hungary
979
1.100
1.030
1.025
1.056
996
Roumania
900
1.200
1.500
1.800
2.200
na
Turkey
2.893
3.327
4.200
4.352
4.390
na
Croatia
na
na
na
na
na
na
Norway
530
520
500
490
na
500
Switzerland
1.400
na
na
na
na
2.200
* na = not available

Number of persons employed by the travel agents and tour operators

1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
Austria
10.000
16.000
16.000
17.500
15.000
na
Belgium
5.000
na
na
na
na
na
Denmark
6.000
na
5.800
5.700
5.000
4.000
Finland
3.700
3.700
3.800
3.900
4.000
4.020
France
25.000
na
na
28.000
30.000
30.000
Germany
65.000
na
65.000
na
77.000
80.200
Greece
16.000
na
na
na
na
18.000
Ireland
4.000
na
na
na
na
na
Italy
20.000
na
na
na
35.000
40.000
Luxembourg
350
na
na
na
na
600
The Netherlands
13.000
na
na
13.000
16.000
na
Portugal
6.260
7.004
6.986
na
na
na
Spain
33.000
na
34.000
35.000
37.000
37.600
Sweden
4.000
na
na
4.200
4.200
4.500
United Kingdom
45.000
45.000
45.000
100.000
113.200
na
Cyprus
4.000
4.000
4.000
4.000
4.200
4.100
Estonia
na
na
na
na
na
na
Hungary
4.853
4.904
5.014
5.692
5.390
5.320
Roumania
2.700
4.600
5.200
9.000
12.500
na
Turkey
19.903
21.151
na
na
na
na
Croatia
na
na
na
na
na
na
Norway
3.000
2.600
2.500
2.400
na
2.000
Switzerland
14.000
na
na
na
na
12.000

Total turnover by the travel agents and tour operators (mil. euros)

1.996
1.997
1.998
1.999
2.000
2.001
Austria
2.575
2.750
2.950
3.150
2.800
na
Belgium
2.307
na
na
na
na
na
Denmark
1.700
1.840
1.990
2.130
2.150
2.100
Finland
1.474
1.758
1.924
2.017
2.186
2.190
France
11.538
na
na
9.680
10.793
11.000
Germany
23.010
na
26.330
28.000
27.000
25.600
Greece
6.153
na
na
na
na
na
Ireland
2.358
na
na
na
na
na
Italy
9.524
na
na
10.400
12.400
10.600
Luxembourg
128
na
na
na
na
na
The Netherlands
3.000
na
na
7.500
8.600
na
Portugal
2.500
na
na
na
na
na
Spain
7.669
na
13.690
15.625
16.250
9.615
Sweden
2.688
na
na
2.960
3.645
3.368
United Kingdom
22.125
na
na
na
60.420
43.977
Cyprus
1.500
1.600
1.800
2.000
2.100
2.330
Estonia
na
na
na
na
na
na
Hungaria
na
na
na
na
3.588
2.917
Roumania
na
na
na
na
na
na
Turkey
na
na
na
na
na
na
Croatia
na
na
na
na
na
na
Norway
1.928
2.000
2.000
1.900
na
na
Switzerland
4.000
na
na
na
na
9.300
* na = not available
About the Author
This is the team byline for GTP. The copyrights for these articles are owned by GTP. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner.

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