Key Policy Priorities for the Tourism Sector
In order to formulate effective tourism policies, a holistic European approach is needed considering the multiple impacts of the sector as well as the wide spectrum of stakeholders involved or affected by tourism.
This was recognised by the Treaty of Lisbon, which by article 195 of the TFEU gives to the European Union the responsibility to promote the competitiveness of the European tourism sector by creating a favourable environment for its growth and development and by establishing an integrated approach to the travel and tourism sector.
Tourism matters, and it’s time for the EU to act on the following key policy priorities to ensure that tourism in Europe continues to be a key driver for economic growth and job creation, fostering European values and citizenship.
- Achieve smarter Schengen visa policies and processes to minimise the deterrence to legitimate travellers whether for leisure or professional purposes.
- Reduce administrative and fiscal burdens, support 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 to visit and in which to do business. VAT, levies, local taxes and air passenger taxes 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.
- 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 and peer-to-peer platforms 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.
- Develop a dedicated EU Tourism strategy with clear aims, objectives, indicators and actions for tourism in the EU involving all tourism stakeholders.
- Prevent regulatory duplication and remove regulatory contradictions within the single market for tourism services, by ensuring better coordination of policies and 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 consistent enforcement.
- Identify and promote good practice in tourism reflecting the aims and actions proposed in this Manifesto (e.g tourism regulation management and corporate social responsibility).
- Ensure systematic involvement of tourism’s private-sector stakeholders as well as tourism authorities at all levels of governance.
- Regularly monitor and evaluate the performance and impact of the visitor economy (e.g. on EU economic performance in terms of accurate sustainability and employment data).
- Facilitate access to smart and sustainable EU funding for tourism stakeholders in relation to growth and job creation.
- Project funding should take into account the needs of European citizens, visitors, workers, enterprises and the European organisations.
- Support the development and ongoing promotion of the diversity of tourism offers in Europe, including pan-European thematic tourism products (e.g. cycle routes, gastronomy, culture, nature, performing arts, 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 and Regional Tourism Organisations and other relevant organisations.
- Facilitate private sector collaboration, promote public private initiatives (e.g. matching funding and marketing programmes) and support cross-sectoral partnerships.
- Support and promote third-party European quality schemes where a general benefit is clear (e.g. accommodation, gastronomy, arts & heritage, destinations, thematic products etc.).
- Promote good practice in extending the season and capacity (e.g. better staggering of school holidays, increased opening hours) and diversification (e.g. developing visitor opportunities for more people, such as those on low incomes, and those not tied to school holidays.)
- Encourage development of year-round tourism by diversifying the offer, especially in destinations traditionally better known for their seasonal appeal (e.g. winter walking holidays in southern Europe; cycling holidays in skiing resorts) or their year-long attraction based on natural resources such as countryside and active tourism.
- Support the creative promotion of the available tourism offer throughout the year.
Skills and Qualifications
- Promote the 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 people working in the tourism sector, 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.
- 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 all relevant DGs 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 ensure that the quality of the visitors’ experience goes hand in hand with the quality of life of local communities.
- Social and cultural sustainability: manage impact on local culture and communities in destinations; maintain long-term employment in the tourism sector with fair working conditions for all, especially in key sub-sectors where recruitment and retention remain a challenge (e.g social protection, renumeration, equal opportunities, equal treatment etc.)
- Support the concept of tourism as a right for everybody. Give a chance to every European citizen to travel, including those with low income or disabilities.
- 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, rural, 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 specific needs of all travellers.
- Improve the quality and coordination of dedicated passenger transport corridors (e.g. railway, roads, cycle routes, maritime waterways, walking paths, Single European Sky, etc.) through EU-funding.
- Promote fair and equal access to relevant data by travel and transport operators to facilitate digital multimodal practices, including end-to-end ticketing.
- 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.