Creation of European Commission portfolio on “Transport and Tourism”
The fifty European tourism stakeholders, representing all aspects of the EU tourism sector, appeal for greater recognition of tourism in the new European Commission and the creation of a Commission portfolio on “Transport and Tourism”.
The full letter can be accessed here.
The European Tourism Manifesto stakeholders call on European Parliament and Commission to move towards an integrated European tourism policy
The European Tourism Manifesto for Growth and Jobs and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) have declared the urgent need for a genuine recognition of the importance of tourism. The two representative bodies presented a Tourism Legacy Paper to the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani appealing to the new European Parliament and European Commission to move towards an integrated European tourism policy with strategic funding at EU level.
The full paper can be accessed here.
Position of the European Tourism Manifesto stakeholders on Modernising the EU’s policy on short-stay ‘Schengen’ visas
The stakeholders of the Tourism Manifesto for Growth and Jobs have reacted to the public consultation from DG Migration and Home Affairs on modernising the EU’s policy on short-stay ‘Schengen’ visas, submitting a position paper highlighting the urgency of said reform.
“The undersigned stakeholders welcome the organisation of this consultation, which is a valuable opportunity to re-evaluate the common visa policy as not only a tool to address security concerns, but also to maintain freedom of movement within the Schengen Area and minimise the deterrence to legitimate travellers whether for leisure or professional purposes. Achieving smarter Schengen visa policies is one of the priorities of the tourism sector as stated in the European Tourism Manifesto for Growth and Jobs under the ‘Competitiveness’ EU policy area. “
“Therefore, we would like to underline the URGENCY of this reform. To avoid a large and growing loss of opportunities, especially from long-haul markets such as China, Middle East and India and ensure a sustainable growth of the tourism sector, it is imperative that the EU’s visa policies are improved and modernised as soon as possible.”
The paper underlines the importance of the tourism sector as a contributor to EU GDP (the sector currently supports 26.5 million jobs), and stresses the necessity for the Commission to adopt more lenient visa policies to facilitate tourism to Europe and also to tap into potentially lucrative source markets.
Additionally, the paper answers six questions addressed to industry stakeholders in Autumn of last year, and compiles their opinions and recommendations on the following issues: procedural improvements to minimise as far as possible administrative burdens for consulates and applicants, harmonised policy implementation, level of the standard visa fee, the use of outsourcing in the visa procedure and the role of External Service Providers and, digitisation of the application procedure.
The full paper can be accessed here.
Recognition of the Manifesto by the President of the European Parliament
In his opening speech of the High-level Conference on Tourism held in Brussels on the occasion of World Tourism Day, the President of the European Parliament, Mr Antonio Tajani, commended the cooperation among the Manifesto tourism stakeholders:
"In this increasingly competitive field, it is in our very best interests to join forces. In a way we are already doing this, through the work done by this Parliament and the Commission, in cooperation with many regional governments in the NECSTouR network and the European Travel Commission, and through the European Tourism Manifesto."
The Manifesto is also mentioned in the briefing on 'Major challenges for EU tourism and policy responses' prepared by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EP Think Thank) which was distributed at this momentous event.
High-level Conference on Tourism
European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Opinion ‘Tourism as a driving force for regional cooperation across the EU’ – Article 59 supports the Manifesto
European Commission answers to the Open Letter sent on 17/07/2017
In her answer, Commissioner Bieńkowska states that the European Commission is committed to continue fostering the competitiveness of the EU tourism businesses, particularly SMEs. She underlines that the European Commission’s actions implemented in the framework of the 2010 Communication on Tourism and the 2014 Communication on Coastal and Maritime Tourism are still consider valid for addressing the challenges and opportunities in the sector.
The original Letter can be accessed here.
European Commission Work Programme 2018 – Revision of the EU 2010 Tourism Strategy
All signatories of the European Tourism Manifesto for Growth & Jobs, other representatives of the tourism industry, 40 Members of the European Parliament and more than 70 Members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) call for a comprehensive strategy supporting the tourism sector in an Open Letter addressed to the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.
To: Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission
Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission
CC: Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the European Commission
Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Member of the European Commission
Dear First Vice-President,
Firstly, let us congratulate you on the recent success regarding roaming charges. This is a real and tangible benefit for citizens travelling across the EU on business and pleasure. Let us clearly say that Europe needs more initiatives like this! If we want to win back the trust of citizens we have to truly raise awareness of the benefits Europe brings to their everyday lives.
In this regard, tourism is one of the policy areas where the EU can make a real difference and showcase many of the benefits and rights it has created for its citizens! Passenger-rights, cross-border consumer rights, the European healthcare regime, the end of roaming charges, the lowering of travel costs and customs free shopping with a single currency in the Eurozone are just some of our great achievements.
As you are aware, the economic and social importance of the tourism sector to the EU cannot be overstated. The sector not only generates 10% of the EU's GDP and provides employment for up to 15% of the population (including a large proportion of young people and women); it also helps integrate low-skilled Europeans and migrants to the labour market.
Moreover, tourism often regenerates dilapidated areas and less developed regions, particularly rural ones. Last but not least, tourism contributes positively to creating a sense of pride in European identity and citizenship and promotes mutual understanding within the EU. This is particularly important today in view of fighting the rise of Euroscepticism and the populist anti-European movements across the EU.
Furthermore, in order to secure Europe’s position as the world’s leading tourist destination and to continue creating jobs and sustainable growth in the EU in line with the EC priorities for 2015-2019 and beyond, we need to considerably strengthen the millions of SMEs in the tourism sector. This means providing them with less burdensome regulatory investment prospects (cutting red tape), sufficient funding opportunities, developing further the digital single market and improving sustainability and security in the tourism sector, to mention but a few.
With Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska we have had excellent cooperation when it comes to initiatives for SMEs and tourism and we are very grateful for the good collaboration over the last number of years and would like to further support her wherever possible.
In view of the above, we therefore kindly ask you to include a European Strategy for Tourism in the European Commission Work Programme for 2018 updating the last communication issued in 2010.
This would allow the Commission to address tourism-related challenges across all relevant EU policies and present a multi-annual work programme with clear goals, indicators and measures for tourism. The strategy would provide guidelines for Member States, regions, local authorities and the private sector in developing their tourism strategies.
Also, in view of the European elections in 2019, it is important to raise awareness of the benefits the EU has created, especially as regards the citizens' rights and travel.
To this end, we are ready to contribute to this process involving political leaders of all levels, business communities, citizen groups, academics and research centres.
We are convinced that with a clear vision, adequate funds and working together in close partnership, we can remove not only roaming charges but also other obstacles hindering SMEs and tourists per se in Europe's tourism industry.
We must support the tourism sector which is hugely contributing to economic prosperity and the social inclusion of millions of European citizens and as we have said we can better use tourism when it comes to raising awareness of a common European identity and European citizenship.
We are looking forward to your positive reply and remain at your disposal.
The Open Letter can also be accessed here.
Letter regarding the situation of non-reciprocity with US and Canada in the area of visa policy
Addressed to the Members of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, European Parliament
The European Tourism Manifesto stakeholders have been following with increasing concern developments in the visa waiver reciprocity mechanism applied by the European Union to citizens of the United States and Canada.
The EU enjoys outstanding bilateral relations with the US and Canada, and US and Canadian travellers contribute substantially to the European economy. We appeal to the European Union to strictly apply Regulation No 1289/2013, and in particular take into consideration the potential political, economic and administrative consequences of a suspension of the visa waiver system in place with the US and Canada.
Currently, travellers from the US and Canada account for the largest percentage of all extra-European arrivals. In 2015, travel from the US to Europe boomed, aided by a strong economy and a strong US dollar. Emerging as well as mature European destinations have seen visitor numbers from the US and Canada grow, with arrivals from the two markets reaching 30.3 million tourists. US visitors alone spent more than $54 billion during their stay in 2014.
We believe it is essential for the European Parliament and the Council to resolve the situation, so that it does not come to a suspension of the visa waiver arrangement for US and Canadian citizens. A careful balance needs to be sought between ensuring security for travellers and citizens, while allowing travel flows to continue and prevent a further negative impact on the tourism economy in Europe which is already suffering significantly from recent terrorist attacks.
In 2015, we have seen travellers from North America resilient in their plans to come to Europe. Making it more difficult for US and Canadian citizens to travel to Europe would certainly reverse this trend, deprive the European travel and tourism sector of essential revenue, and put thousands of European jobs at stake in one of the few sectors which experiences a strong growth in employment. This would be contradicting with the European Commission’s agenda for growth and jobs.
The European Parliament should encourage the European Commission to continue the talks on the visa reciprocity. We count on the support of the European Parliament to achieve a fair and balanced outcome that will not put more pressure on a European tourism sector already exposed to considerable challenges.
 Source: Tourism Economics
 Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, National Travel and Tourism Office from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, October 2015
 Source: ETC Quarterly Report - Q4/2015
Press Release: Launch of the Manifesto
Travel and tourism sector unites behind Tourism for Growth and Jobs Manifesto
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. Published to coincide with the European Tourism Day on Wednesday 16th December, 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.
The Manifesto was officially launched at an event held at the Confcommercio Delegation to the European Union on Wednesday 9th December 2015, which was attended by the MEPs Ana-Claudia Tapardel, Cláudia Monteiro De Aguiar, Isabella De Monte and István Ujhelyi. 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, DG GROW.
Speaking on behalf of the European Parliament, as Vice-Chair of the TRAN Committee and President of the Tourism Task Force, Mr Ujhelyi said that “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.” Mr Corazza meanwhile seemed receptive to the Manifesto: “We will try to give appropriate answers to the challenges set out in the Manifesto.”
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 forecasted to rise to 10.4% by 20251.
In the EU, the travel and tourism sector employs almost 25 million people and visitor exports generate 351 billion EUR per year1. 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.
This sector stimulates economic growth by generating income, employment, investment and exports. 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.
Quotes from the launch event on Wednesday 9th December 2016:
Ana-Claudia Țapardel: “This marks an important step to put tourism back on the EU Agenda.”
István Ujhelyi: “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.”
Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar: “This is what we wanted - speaking with a common voice”
Isabella De Monte: “I am sure we will achieve excellent results if we will all work together”
Jakub Cebula, Cabinet of Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska: “We take note of the Manifesto and we will work together with all stakeholders closely”
Carlo Corazza, Head of Unit - Tourism, Creative and Emerging Industries, DG GROW: “We will try to give appropriate answers to the challenges set out in the Manifesto”