Holidays: Tourism Secretary ‘desperate’ to welcome Brits to Spain
And pro-Brexit think tank Facts4EU.org has warned any failure to get the tourists back has the potential to deliver a £675billion(€784billion) hit to the bloc’s economy – while questioning why the UK is not currently not on the list of “safe” countries. With the rise of the so-called Indian variant raising uncomfortable questions about the possible impact on travel restrictions, across the EU27, the beleaguered tourist industry is bracing itself for another battering after last year’s total wipeout.
Facts4EU used figures culled from a 2019 tourism report published by Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistics division – to examine the number of tourism-dependent jobs in 15 EU countries.
For the EU27 as a whole the EU estimates 16.5 million jobs are involved.
The top six were Italy (4,206,857), Germany (2,919,106), Spain (2,425,300), France (1,336,692), the Netherlands (791,000) and Portugal (488,003).
Nor did these numbers tell the full story – Facts4EU also used an official 2018 Eurostat report to look at which countries were most heavily reliant on tourism as a percentage of their overall workforce.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
Greece – including Crete, pictured here – is heavily reliant on tourism revenue
Greece came out on top, with 23.9 percent, followed by Cyprus (20.3 percent), Malta (15.3 percent), Ireland (13.3 percent), Austria (12.7 percent) and Spain (12.3 percent).
A separate analysis, also published on Facts4EU’s website this weekend, offered a stark insight into the cost of lost tourism revenue to the EU’s economy.
In total, figures once again gleaned from Eurostat indicate, tourists spent £349.1billion annually to the EU’s economy in 2019.
Moreover, the boost to the GDP of the bloc as a whole was £677.3billion.
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Emmanuel Macron, France’s President
The top five beneficiaries were Spain : £203.5 (billion); Germany (£90.8billion); Denmark (£76.7billion); Italy (£75.7billion); and the Netherlands (£26.2).
In this context, Facts4EU questioned why the UK is not on the list of countries from whom no Digital Green Certificate – in other words a vaccine passport – is required, despite being the second-most vaccinated nation on Earth after Israel.
Facts4EU think-tank spokesman David Evans said: “The EU Commission has had a disastrous Covid.”
The bloc had has failed “on almost every level”, Mr Evans claimed, from its failure to come to the aid of Italy when its hospitals were overrun last year, to its lack of funding for vaccine research, to wasting time on a French vaccine which still hasn’t been produced, to its bureaucratic negotiations with successful vaccine suppliers, to its off-on/ on-off approvals of vaccines, and to its current “vindictive legal pursuit” of Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca, the only pharma company to have made its vaccines available at cost.
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The top six countries in the EU27 in terms of the number of tourism-related jobs
A comparison of tourism jobs as a percentage of overall jobs
He added: “On top of this, the British people are rapidly realising that the EU is carrying out a vendetta against the United Kingdom for daring to leave its sclerotic club.
“The stories about the absurd checks being made on British goods at EU borders, whilst EU goods are simply waved through at UK borders, are all beginning to penetrate.
“We are already hearing increasingly from people who now check the provenance of goods in the supermarket when they go shopping.
“If there is an alternative to an EU product, whether from the UK (preferably) or from the rest of the world, the EU product stays on the shelf.”
Covid vaccinations live
The EU’s hostility towards the UK has become plain for all to see
Mr Evans suggested: “Perhaps this is why the latest ONS figures show a drop in imports from the EU and a rise in imports from the rest of the world.
“Could this now extend to British people’s holiday plans? Putting aside the UK Government’s latest warning that Covid restrictions may not be removed on 17th June after all, the EU’s hostility towards the UK has become plain for all to see.
“Just as British pork is currently suffering far more EU inspections than pork from other ‘third countries’, will British travellers also be subject to the same discrimination?”
Mr Evans criticised the EU’s treatment of AstraZeneca
Mr Evans said: “We seriously wonder if the fanatical ideologues in the EU Commission – to say nothing of some of the leaders of EU countries such as Monsieur Macron – have any idea of what they are risking.
“The British people are generally tolerant, and slow to anger. We sense a growing feeling of anger amongst the British people against the EU’s bullying, unreasonable, and vindictive behaviour towards the United Kingdom.
“The EU’s vindictive behaviour crosses all areas, from its absurd insistence that despite almost all UK standards and laws still being identical to those of the EU, it will make life as tough as possible for UK exporters, to its legal action against the UK for trying to keep the United Kingdom as a whole country, to its refusal to grant ‘equivalence’ to the UK’s important financial sector despite the UK having done this unilaterally for the EU last November.”