Opinion Factsheet  

Tourism as a driving force for regional cooperation across the EU

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Opinion Number: CDR 6648/2015
Rapporteur: WAGNER Hanspeter
Commission: NAT
Status: Adopted
Date: 07/12/2016
 
demand concrete EU action to support EU tourist destinations
highlight different tourism concepts in regions
position the CoR as a partner of EU institutions and regional tourism organisations
better use of EGTC and macroregional cooperation for tourism
Tourism is a silent hero of the European economy. Robust and steadily growing - unlike some other industrial branches - proving millions of job places across Europe and being an essential part of the European way of life. The 2016 European Committee of the Regions' opinion "Tourism as a driving force for regional cooperation across the EU" recognises this contribution while going the extra mile to identify the outstanding barriers to growth and to propose the solutions to relaunch European tourism agenda.

The concrete proposals include an integrated EU tourism policy and a bold multi-annual action plan to support thousands of tourism-related SMEs, a creation of regional tourism investment platforms under the EFSI, a new award for "European Capitals of Smart Tourism", or a formal recognition of tourism qualifications. The European Parliament, the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, as well as tourism related stakeholders (ETC, NECSTouR, itp.) have expressed their interest in working together with the CoR in realising the potential of these proposals and scheduled meetings to plan the implementation. The new created inter-institutional Tourism Contact Group (TCG) bringing together all these decision-makers will coordinate the efforts and assure effective communication. This firmly places the Committee at the centre of the tourism policy and financial discussions in the framework of the mid-term review of the multiannual framework 2014-2020. Indeed, the opinion makes a strong case for a separate EU budget line to cover future EU tourism activities and to fund innovative, competitive, sustainable, cross-regional and cross-border projects.

Likewise, both 2017 Presidency Member States have met with the Rapporteur and the CoR hierarchy to discuss the adoption of a multiannual action plan for European tourism. This will be further discussed with relevant Permanent Representations.

Finally, the plenary adoption gave the opportunity to discuss once more the tourism agenda with the EP TRAN Vice Chair, Istvan Ujhelyi, and to connect the work of the CoR with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. Its Secretary General, Taleb Rifai stressed the relevance of tourism at regional level in terms of socio-economic and cultural development, and the need to enhance regional cooperation.

Finally, the plenary adoption gave the opportunity to connect the work of the CoR with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. Its Secretary General, Taleb Rifai stressed the relevance of tourism at regional level in terms of socio-economic and cultural development, and the need to enhance regional cooperation.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS

- calls on the European Commission to launch an integrated EU tourism policy and a multi-annual action-plan and to cut red tape in tourism-specific EU law;

- asks the EC to champion the European brand (EU logo) and the development of brand positioning and marketing platforms;

- suggests a standardised European classification/quality assurance system to complement existing national and regional ones;

- suggests introducing the title of "European Capital of Smart Tourism";

- proposes a media prize ("tourism Oscar") for documentation about European heritage;

- asks for a "European Citizen Travel Card", an electronic European travel badge (social media-compatible GPS "DiscoverYrope app") and a "European Traveller's Pass"

- supports a heading for promoting European tourism into the annual EU budget and in post-2020 EU regional policy and CAP;

- calls for European and regional tourism investment platforms under the EFSI and local tourism investment forums;

- calls for the de minimis thresholds of state aid for SGEIs to be increased to EUR 1 million per case per three tax years

- calls for a European tourism academy and a Jean Monnet chair for European tourism research as well as a formal cross-border recognition of tourism qualifications;

Importance

High
Medium
Low
 

High-level conference of Ministers of Tourism of EU Member States "Tourism and economic growth"

The rapporteur will take part in the informal meeting of the ministers of tourism hosted by the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the European Union in Sofia.

 
13 Feb
 

High-level conference on "Tourism: a key industry to invest into Europe's future"

The rapporteur took part in the high-level conference on tourism in Insbruck organized by the regional government of Tyrol. The conference was attended by the Commissioner Bienkowska, representatives of the Austrian Federal Government, the Bulgarian Presidency, the EIB and other experts on tourism.

 
27 Nov
 

Meeting with UNWTO

Rapporteur Hanspeter Wagner met World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) Secretary-General Taleb Rifai

 
07 Dec
 

Working dinner with EP, EC, ETC and NECSTour

Rapporteur Hanspeter Wagner participated in a working dinner with relevant MEPs, the European Commission, the European Travel Commission and NECSTour

 
06 Dec
 

Meeting with NecsTour

Rapporteur Hanspeter WAGNER met NecsTour's President Patrick Torrent and Vice-President Jan Korthoudt on the European Tourism Day 29 November 2016.

 
30 Nov
 

European Tourism Day

Rapporteur Hanspeter WAGNER participated in the conference "Enhancing Synergies between Tourism and Cultural and Creative Industries - Innovative solutions as the main driver for jobs and growth" which was organised on the European Tourism Day.

 
29 Nov
 

Meeting with Commissioner Yurki Katainen

Meeting with Commissioner Jyrki Katainen to discuss: the investment in tourism-related SMEs, pilot events of the EC and the CoR, to raise awareness about the existing funding, annual EU Budget heading for promoting tourism to finance innovative cross-border projects, investment programmes facilitating cross-border investment and PPP models, etc.

 
27 Sep
 

Meeting with MEP Claudia Monteiro de Aguiar

Lunchtime meeting with MEP Claudia Monteiro de Aguiar to discuss the future CoR – EP cooperation in tourism

 
27 Sep
 

Meeting with the European Travel Commission

Discussion with Eduardo Santander (European Travel Commission) on the proposals included in the opinion and ways to cooperate

 
27 Sep
 

Discussion with MEP István Ujhelyi

Discussion with MEP István Ujhelyi on the future cooperation with the European Parliament on tourism

 
27 Sep
 

Participation in the CEPLI conference

Speaker at the CEPLI conference on "Financing investments in tourism industry to increase competitiveness and attractiveness of European territories"

 
26 Sep
 

Meeting with the Permanent Representation of Malta to the EU

Meeting with David Kerr and Emma La Ferla from the Permanent Representation of Malta to the EU: discussion on the priorities of the upcoming MT Presidency in the area of tourism and possibilities for cooperation

 
26 Sep
 

Rapporteur's activity

Meeting with the cabinet of commissioner ELŻBIETA BIEŃKOWSKA

 
10 Feb
 

Rapporteur's activity

Meeting with the officials from DG GROW, Unit F/4 Tourism, Emerging and Creative Industries

 
09 Feb
 

Appointment of the rapporteur

The NAT commission appointed Mr Hanspeter WAGNER (AT/PPE) as rapporteur for an own-initiative opinion on Tourism as a driving force for regional cooperation across the EU

 
24 Nov