Towards a stronger partnership for European Tourism

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Towards a stronger partnership for European Tourism

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Towards a stronger partnership for European Tourism

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Communication from the Commission of 17 March 2006 on “A renewed EU Tourism Policy – Towards a stronger partnership for European Tourism” [COM(2006) 134 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


As a factor in growth and job creation, the tourism industry plays a key role in the Lisbon Strategy.

The rapid growth of the tourist industry has been driven by globalisation, demographic changes and the evolution in transport. The job creation rate in tourism is above average compared to other sectors, and tourism creates in particular highly diverse jobs, often part-time, thus contributing to the employment of women, young and less-skilled persons. Sustainable tourism also plays a major role in the preservation and enhancement of the cultural and natural heritage, and contributes to local development in an increasing number of less-favoured regions. It also contributes to a better understanding among peoples.

A renewed European tourism policy

The European Union is proposing a new tourism policy to meet the challenges facing this sector and fully exploit its potential. Changing demography, global competition, concern for sustainability and the demand for specific forms of tourism are all challenges which Europe is faced with today.

In light of the above, coordination, dialogue and partnership amongst tourism stakeholders will be essential, as tourism is an activity involving a wide variety of stakeholders. The public authorities at European, national, regional and local levels will need to cooperate with the private sector, the sectoral social partners and stakeholders. The Commission will continue its efforts to keep the members of the Advisory Committee on Tourism informed, in an efficient and transparent way, of the tourism-related initiatives included in its Work Programme.

Mainstreaming measures

The objective of the first set of measures is better regulation. The Commission wants to ensure that the impact assessments for new proposals related to tourism take the competitiveness of the industry into account. It also plans to screen pending legislative proposals and simplify existing European legislation. The Member States are also called upon to carry out exercises of this kind in order to avoid a cumulative administrative burden which could damage the industry’s competitiveness.

In addition, many Community actions, not only in the area of enterprise policy but also in other European policy areas, have nevertheless also had a direct or indirect impact on the competitiveness of European tourism. For this reason, Europe also needs to use other policy instruments to promote competitiveness.

Greater use needs to be made of existing European financial instruments in order to promote tourism:

The Structural Funds, the ERDF and the ESF will support the development of tourism businesses and services, professional mobility, educational programmes and training.

The Cohesion Fund will support environment and transport infrastructures.

The future Leonardo Da Vinci programme includes a new mobility programme for apprentices, for which tourism has been identified as a possible pilot sector.

The EAFRD will provide support to improve the countryside and the quality of agricultural production, and to upgrade the cultural heritage with a view to developing rural tourism and diversifying the rural economy, particularly in the new Member States and the candidate countries.

The EFF proposes eco-tourism as a new area which could absorb the fishermen affected by the restructuring of the fisheries sector. Small-scale fisheries and tourism infrastructure will also be supported.

The proposed “Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme” will support the competitiveness of enterprises, especially SMEs, in the tourism sector.

The proposed 7th EC Framework Programme for Research may result in benefits for the tourism sector, thanks to research on information and communication technologies, satellite applications, cultural heritage and land use.

Promoting sustainable tourism

Based on the 2003 Communication on “Basic orientations for the sustainability of European tourism” and the work of the expert group known as the Tourism Sustainability Group, the Commission plans to present a proposal on a European Agenda 21 for tourism in 2007.

The specific actions which the Commission intends to take to support the sustainability of tourism include:

  • the exchange of good practice at national and international levels to support SMEs and in the area of ‘tourism for all’;
  • evaluation of the economic impact of better accessibility in the tourism sector;
  • publication of a handbook on ‘How to set up Learning Areas in the Tourism sector’;
  • the study of employment trends in coastal and sea-related tourism sectors;
  • assessment of the implications of e-business on the tourism industry;
  • tackling at all levels the sexual exploitation of children by tourists.

Improving understanding of tourism

Up-to-date, detailed, relevant and comparable statistics on tourism are essential in order to make effective decisions. The collection of statistics in the area of tourism must be improved at European and national levels (Eurostat and Tourism Satellite Accounts).

Improving the visibility of tourism

The Commission wishes to promote European tourist destinations via a portal providing practical information for tourists travelling in Europe (transportation, places to visit, activities and when they can be done, weather, etc.) but also drawing attention to the impact which cultural and sporting events organised by European cities and regions can have on SMEs.

The Annual European Tourism Forum, which began in 2002, is hosted by a different Member State every year in collaboration with the Commission. It highlights the complexity of tourism as a phenomenon which affects many parts of the economic and social fabric. The Commission encourages dialogue within this Forum. The fact that a number of Council Presidencies have organised ministerial meetings and conferences has also helped raise the profile of European tourism.


This Communication was published one year after the Communication “Working together for growth and jobs – A new start for the Lisbon Strategy”. The tourism industry is important for the Lisbon Strategy in terms of sustainable growth and job creation, but it must nevertheless address particular challenges.

The development of this collaboration can be reviewed regularly during the European Tourism Forums.


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