How deeply rooted is the hospitality sector in society? What would society be like if people were not able to relax, do leisure activities, eat out, go camping, do sports, meet each other, try out some culture, travel at home and abroad, attend conferences and events? Gastvrij Nederland and CELTH answered this question in the Societal Value of Tourism and Recreation survey (in Dutch). This is the first time that it has been depicted how big the value of the hospitality sector is for the Dutch economy and mostly for society at large.
Entrepreneurs from the broad hospitality sector are responsible for sales worth 91.2 billion and over 800,000 jobs. One in ten people even work in this sector all over the globe. However, the importance of the tourism & recreation sector is much broader, for example it improves the quality of life, makes people healthier and happier and connects groups of people. The sector contributes to successes achieved in other sectors (income and jobs for suppliers) and business climate. Entrepreneurs create jobs in regions where (traditionally) there are fewer jobs and the presence of (business) tourists and people doing leisure activities is essential for shops and public amenities. The government fulfils a major duty in this. This duty could be given substance to better as the new survey proved conclusively.
Crisis makes the importance of the sector visible
The measures resulting from the corona pandemic show very emphatically what effect closing down the sector almost completely has on society. Kees van Wijk, chairman of Gastvrij Nederland: “We knew already that the hospitality sector contributes almost 4.5% to our Gross Domestic Product, but its contribution to our Gross Domestic Happiness is at least as important, and even bigger if possible.”
The goverment should coordinate matters better
The interconnectedness of tourism and recreation with other sectors and society requires a much closer collaboration with other sectors and better coordination from the side of the government. Then the power of the sector is shown to its best advantage.
Jeroen Klijs, professor of social impacts of tourism at CELTH partner Breda University of Applied Sciences and project leader of the survey adds: “The right prerequisites are required to retain and increase the positive social value of tourism and recreation. More intensive cooperation between authorities, entrepreneurs and education and knowledge institutes and actively engaging residents is a necessity.”
Making a call directly after the elections
On the basis of this new survey, Gastvrij Nederland will make a call to the government directly after the elections by presenting ten concrete points to make sure that the sector can make an even bigger contribution to society after the corona crisis.
If you want to be kept posted, do not hesitate to contact Jeroen Klijs (Klijs.firstname.lastname@example.org).