MEPs, regions, cities and the tourism industry urge the European Commission to come forward with a European Tourism Strategy
More than 70 Members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), 40 MEP's and representatives of Europe's tourism industry call for a comprehensive strategy supporting the tourism sector in an Open Letter addressed to the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.
The Open Letter underlines that "tourism often regenerates dilapidated areas and less developed regions, particularly rural ones." Additionally tourism also contributes "to creating a sense of pride in European citizenship and promotes mutual understanding within the EU" with the numerous benefits European citizens enjoy when travelling in the EU, such as removed roaming charges, EU passenger- and cross-border consumer rights, the European healthcare regime, as well as customs free shopping with a single currency in the Eurozone.
However, the sector faces massive challenges like a growing investment gap, burdensome bureaucracy for SMEs, the need to align the sector with the energy and climate targets as well as digitalisation, a growing crisis of missing skills, security and marketing issues related to terrorism, and fierce competition from new non-European markets. These challenges cannot be dealt with at national level alone. Therefore political action at the European level is needed to secure Europe's position as the world's leading tourist destination while continuing creating jobs and sustainable growth.
A consistent multi-annual EU tourism strategy is needed. It's time that the European Union steps up its efforts to support this industry which is crucial for Europe's economic development and a shared European identity.