Definition: Employment generated by the congress

Category: Tourism


Employment generated by congresses and conferences includes all persons working in organising the event, in auxiliary services within the congress, and in local services provided by existing tourist facilities.


This generic definition of employment runs up against an accounting problem. Even though a methodology has been developed above to include employment by organisers and auxiliary services, employment generated by local tourist services is difficult to measure. There are three possible approaches to measuring this type of employment [Community Methodology  on Tourism Statistics, Eurostat, 1998].

1. Production Evaluation

In principle this is the simplest method, and it involves counting all persons from every sector serving participants. However this approach has two problems: 1) Employment that serves congress activity also serves others, not only other types of tourists but also local residents who use the services (e.g. restaurants); 2) Some congress-generated employment does not sell its products directly to the congress sector (e.g. makers of sound equipment for conference halls).

2.  Work Force Evaluation

Surveys of the active population carried out by all EU countries allow details of employment in each country to be ascertained. The problem lies in the content of activities and the difficulty of evaluating the proportion of the workforce that actually serves congresses. Therefore, there is a problem of definition (lack of a major breakdown) plus a sector-specific problem (for example, inability to tell whether a waiter at a nearby restaurant owes his job to custom from participants or regular customers).

3. Expenditure evaluation

The participant or consumer is the starting point for an approach to solve these problems. Although the recipient of revenue is impossible to identify, it is possible to identify who generates revenue. Participants and organisers can be surveyed about their spending, enabling a total estimate to be made. Once expenditure is evaluated, work units per monetary unit of expenditure may be estimated.

A good example of this procedure can be found in the fairs and exhibitions sector. A study carried out by the Exhibition Industry Federation estimated that for every 12 900 ECU generated by visitors and exhibitors, 0.37 jobs were generated [EIF, 1992]. From this information it follows that for the ECU 18 000 million generated by fairs in the EU, there are more than half a million jobs .
Eurostat, "Methodological manual for statistics on congresses and conferences", Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2000