For the first time ever, Europe’s public and private tourism actors have come together to call for the European Union to do more for this important industry. The Tourism Manifesto‘s emphasis on sustainable tourism, as promoted through the EuroVelo project, is crucial to the future competitiveness of the European Tourism market.
Published to coincide with the European Tourism Day, the Tourism for Growth and Jobs Manifesto highlights the key EU policy priorities for the sector in the coming years on topics ranging from skills and qualifications to sustainability and competitiveness of Europe’s tourism.
Ádám Bodor, director of EuroVelo, underlined: “With cycle tourism booming across Europe, the ECF has long been calling for the European Commission to do more to support sustainable travel and tourism, particularly as we coordinate EuroVelo, the European cycle route network. As many voices speak louder than one, the ECF has been instrumental in bringing together the main actors in the European tourism sector to prepare the first ever Tourism for Growth and Jobs Manifesto. We hope that it will lead to even more people enjoying Europe’s unrivalled network of cycling routes, as well as a growth in the number of people being employed in the sector to cope with the increased demand”
The manifesto was officially launched at an event held at the Confcommercio Delegation to the European Union, which was attended by the MEPs Ana-Claudia Tapardel, Cláudia Monteiro De Aguiar, Isabella De Monte and István Ujhelyi. The latter highlighted: “It is a historical moment from the point of view of the European representatives of the tourism sector. That is why I supported this initiative and encouraged politicians and the tourism stakeholders to sit on the same side of the table. Together, we can convince the institutions here in Brussels through concrete actions and diplomacy.” The European Commission was also represented by Jakub Cebula, Member of the Cabinet of Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, and Carlo Corazza, Head of Unit – Tourism, Creative and Emerging Industries.
Over 20 European organisations have already signed up to the manifesto which seeks to ensure that the continent remains an attractive destination and that the sector continues to make a significant contribution to the EU economy.
Europe is currently the world’s number one tourist destination with a market share of 51% in 2014.
The tourism industry generates (directly and indirectly) 9.7% of total EU-28 GDP, a figure which is forecast to rise to 10.4% by 2025.
In the EU, the travel and tourism sector employs almost 25 million people and visitor exports generate 351 billion EUR per year. The role of tourism becomes increasingly important considering that, by nature, it is a labour intensive sector built primarily by SMEs, and it has high female and youth employment ratios.
Particularly sustainable tourism has the capacity to foster economic growth in rural regions, generate employment in structurally weaker areas and extend the tourist season for the tourism actors, resulting in lower vulnerability to economic trends. It also generates valuable spin-off benefits, including preservation of cultural heritage, improved infrastructure, local community facilities and stronger awareness of European citizenship.
In times when unemployment rates have increased dramatically, evidence indicates that the travel and tourism sector remains one of the leading job creators both in Europe and worldwide.
The full version of the Tourism for Jobs and Growth manifesto is available online.
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