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European tourism stakeholders present a manifesto for tourism growth and jobs

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

visit europeTourism is an important driver of economic and social development. It stimulates economic growth by generating income, employment, investment and exports. Europe is the world’s number one tourist destination with a market share of 51% in 2014. In the EU, the travel and tourism sector employs almost 25 million people and visitor exports generate 351 billion EUR per year. Taking into account these facts, European public and private tourism stakeholders have united and with a common voice presented a Tourism for Growth and Jobs Manifesto.

On the occasion of the European Tourism Day in Brussels, 24 European public and private tourism stakeholders including the European Travel Commission (ETC) have published their Tourism for Growth and Jobs Manifesto. The document highlights the EU policy priorities for the sector in the coming years.

eu tourism manifesto supportersThe Manifesto sets out eight European policy priorities for the travel and tourism sector. These are:

Competitiveness

• Achieve smarter Schengen visa policies and processes to minimise the deterrence to legitimate travellers.

• Review the regulatory framework for tourism to reduce administrative and fiscal burdens and ensure fair competition; support EU establishment and business creation; and promote cross-border sales and service provision.

• Promote smarter tax policies and better coordination between EU, national, regional and local authorities to ensure Europe remains a competitive destination. VAT, levies, local taxes and APD should be included within the scope of the review of the regulatory framework.

• Ensure level playing field and fair competition for all tourism service providers.

Digitalisation

• Develop EU financial support for the digitalisation of the tourism sector and the creation of expert forums in order to promote good practice.

• Ensure transparency and neutrality for online consumers and businesses. Online search outcomes should be included within the scope of the review of the regulatory framework.

• Encourage further price caps on data roaming charges, free WiFi for visitors, and more multi-lingual content related to attractions and events in destinations.

Good Governance

• Develop a new strategy and a work plan with clear aims, objectives, indicators and actions for tourism in the EU by involving all tourism stakeholders.

• Avoid regulatory duplication and remove regulatory contradictions within the single market for tourism services, by ensuring better coordination of regulations affecting tourism among DGs.

• Provide appropriate notice (minimum 24 months) for any changes to relevant regulations (tax or other) affecting tourism.

• Ensure transparency in the collection and subsequent use of tax income arising from the visitor economy*.

• Simplify tax and consumer protection law and ensure that it is consistently enforced.

• Identify and promote good practices in tourism regulation management and corporate social responsibility.

• Extend the existing Tourism Advisory Committee (TAC) with a similar number of private tourism stakeholders as the current membership.

• Monitor and measure the performance of the tourism industry more regularly and accurately (e.g. in terms of sustainability and employment). Assess the impact of EU funding in the tourism sector.

• Facilitate access to EU funding for tourism SMEs in relation to growth and job creation.

• Promote smart and sustainable funding according to the EC’s priorities and the needs of European citizens, visitors, workers, enterprises and the European organisations.

Joint Promotion

• Promote the diversity of the tourism offers in Europe, including multi-country products.

• Support the development and ongoing promotion of pan-European thematic tourism products (e.g. cycle routes, gastronomy, culture, spa & wellness etc.).

• Provide funding for long-term joint promotion activities for destination Europe in origin markets, thereby adding value to the efforts of the National Tourism Organisations and the other relevant organisations of the member states.

• Facilitate strong cooperation with, and among, the private sector partners through public private initiatives (e.g. matching funding and marketing programmes).

• Improve and promote existing official European quality schemes (e.g. accommodation, gastronomy, heritage, destinations, thematic products etc.).

Reduce Seasonality

• Promote good practice in extending the season (e.g. better staggering of school holidays) and diversification (e.g. making tourism available to more people, such as people on low incomes, different age groups etc.)

• Promote the development and awareness of low-season opportunities (e.g by presenting festivals and events in digital maps and apps).

Skills and Qualifications

• Promote recognition of relevant qualifications, knowledge, skills and experience throughout the single market.

• Raise awareness of careers within the visitor economy*.

• Encourage a more productive relationship between training/education providers and industry.

• Make a broader use of existing Europe-wide programmes for youth employment and develop new programmes.

• Enhance lifelong learning schemes for tourism employees and make them available online.

• Support the improvement of language skills amongst tourism professionals and promote their freedom of movement.

• Encourage cultural awareness training to improve the services provided for visitors from all origin markets.

Sustainability

• Environmental sustainability: create strategic plan for an environmentally sustainable tourism industry (including systems, technology and infrastructure) in order to contribute to climate and sustainable job creation goals, in cooperation with DG ENV, CLIMA, ENER, AGRI, EMPL, REGIO and international bodies as appropriate.

• Economic and operational sustainability: ensure EU financial support for long and mid-term tourism initiatives on the European level covering the whole value chain. Ensure fair benefit from tourism for businesses in origin and destination markets, including for local communities and those who work in the sector.

• Identify and support good practice in capacity and destination management so that supply adapts successfully to demand, and the quality of the visitors’ experience is safeguarded.

• Social sustainability: sustain employment in the tourism sector and promote fair working conditions for all employees, including key sub-sectors where recruitment and retention remain a challenge (e.g. social protection and remuneration, equal opportunities, equal treatment etc.). Give a chance to every EU citizen to travel.

Transport Connectivity

• Promote consumer oriented public-private platform(s) for multi-modal mobility (through improved cooperation among DGs and service providers).

• Improve tourism and transport infrastructure, including in remote, mountain, insular and coastal areas.

• Develop a European strategy to increase connectivity of all transport modes in a sustainable way, including adapting infrastructure and information to cope with the mobility needs of all travellers.

• Improve the quality and coordination of dedicated passenger transport corridors (e.g. railway, roads, cycle routes, etc.) through EU-funding.

• Promote fair and equal access to relevant data by travel and transport operators to facilitate digital multimodal practices.

• Encourage better accessibility and in-destination facilities near tourist attractions to facilitate access and minimize disruption, as well as to eliminate language barriers.

• Promote liberal aviation agreements at EU level opening up market access with the EU’s major trading partners, address the looming airport capacity crunch and achieve the Single European Sky in order to reduce travel distances, times, costs and CO2 emissions.

• Ensure sufficient and predictable rail infrastructure funding to increase the attractiveness and quality of rail services, as a catalyst to unleash the potential of tourism development in line with EU’s modal shift targets towards rail.

For more information on the initiative and on how to join, please visit www.tourismmanifesto.eu

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