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7 November marks European Tourism Day. Today, once again, the EU champions one of the most rapidly expanding sectors of the European economy, accounting for 10% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 7% of world exports and one in ten jobs worldwide.

Tourism is one of the few sectors of the European economy with a high potential for growth and job creation, particularly providing an entry into the labor market for young people, women and people with migrant background. Yet, it is characterized by a high percentage of atypical employment, high staff turnover and seasonal workers.

Representing almost 10 million in the European hotel, restaurant and catering sector, EFFAT firmly believes that tourism workers want to enjoy their fair share of this thriving economy. Today, EFFAT reiterates its call for a substantial improvement of working conditions in the industry, with employment contracts and salaries that guarantee a livelihood, solid social protection, and the possibility to reconcile work with private and family life. Workforce must be truly represented through works councils and collective bargaining that allow workers to have a say in the company.

Today, at the European Tourism Day dedicated conference organised by the European Commission, Kerstin Howald, EFFAT Political secretary for Tourism addressed the issue of valorising human capital in tourism management saying: ‘It is not enough to improve the image of tourism as a sector to work in. Tourism employees are in desperate need to enjoy decent working conditions’ and added: ‘This is a rapidly evolving sector and its workers should be put in the condition to follow its pace. Investment in continued learning and vocational education for workers is key to maintain tourism as a cornerstone of the European economic growth and competitiveness’