Displaying items by tag: Tourism

Tourism ManifestoIn its latest statement, the European Tourism Manifesto (an alliance of travel and tourism organisations in Europe, among them EBI) has put together a list of concrete investment ideas for Member States to adopt as part of their national recovery and investment plans. These ideas are aimed at enabling travel and tourism to generate jobs and growth and to contribute to the green and digital transitions, in line with EU policy objectives. The tourism sector, which accounts for more than 9.5% of the GDP and provides jobs to 22.6 million people has been one of the worst hit sectors during the crisis, must use the opportunity offered by the upcoming Recovery and Resilience Facility not only to mitigate the pandemic’s impacts, but also to move towards sustainability and digitalisation.

The document lists a number of ideas, dividing them across seven categories: power up, renovate, recharge and refuel, connect, modernise, scale up, and reskill and upskill. Proposals cover a wide range of areas, from building greener tourism infrastructure, to financing research for the development of smart tourism data, or supporting businesses to upskill their workforce. The document also points out the multiplier effect of tourism and explains how investing in the tourism industry helps advance the objectives of the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

In particular, the statement contains a number of proposals specifically geared towards nautical tourism. These include funding for the renovation, digitalisation and environmental transformation of marinas, the rolling out of eco-mooring solutions, funding to encourage consumers to retrofit old boats with newer engines, and funding for research, development and implementation of alternative sustainable fuels for recreational engines.

The document is nonetheless of a temporary nature, since a more elaborate list of investment ideas will be published by the European Tourism Manifesto towards the end of the year. The current document can be found here.

Published in Latest News

EBI is a member of the European Tourism Manifesto, an alliance of over 60 European public and private organisations supporting EU action on the key priorities of the tourism sector. This month, the alliance released a statement titled ‘Tourism must be part of national recovery and resilience plans’, urging Member States to include tourism as a strategic element in their national recovery plans.

Member States have until April 2021 to submit to the Commission their draft recovery and resilience plans, which should also include measures to move forward in the green and digital transitions. The tourism sector, which represents 9.5% of the EU’s GDP and is dominated by SMEs, requires € 161 billion worth of investment to return to pre-crisis levels. In addition, it has long value chains that reach many different subsectors, and it employs people across all areas and demographics. The joint statement highlights that tourism is also an industry that can support the green and digital transitions which the EU is aiming to achieve. Consequently, tourism should receive special focus in national recovery plans.

The full statement can be read here.

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Both the European Tourism Convention, organised by the European Commission and the European Tourism Forum, organised by the German Council Presidency, focused on the future strategy of the EU for tourism after a year of disruption caused by COVID-19.

At both events, Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton highlighted the need to launch concrete actions to support the recovery of the tourism and travel sector. He highlighted the importance of a close cooperation between the EU institutions, national governments, and the tourism industry at the time of crisis and during the recovery phase. He also highlighted the need to focus on sustainability of tourism, and the need for tourism to have a strong position and the sector to receive funding in national recovery plans.

Discussed at the Commission event, three main action strands were presented that may form the basis of the new tourism strategy (“Tourism Agenda 2050”), namely:

1) Safe and seamless tourism experience
2) Greener holidays
3) Tourism powered by data

In advance, EBI had already signalled the main areas of interest for the boating and nautical tourism industry and will continue the discussions with the European Commission on specific elements.

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Tourism ManifestoIf it is not in the plan, it is not in the budget: the European Tourism Manifesto alliance, the voice of the European travel and tourism sector of which EBI is a leading member, urges European Union Member States to make tourism a strategic element in their national recovery plans in order to harness the potential of the sector to generate jobs and growth, and to reap the benefits from green and digital transitions.

According to the European Commission’s Communication ‘Europe's moment: Repair and Prepare for the Next Generation’[1], travel and tourism is one of the most affected ecosystems by the COVID-19 and requires € 161 billion[2] worth of investment to bounce back to pre-crisis levels. The new Recovery and Resilience Facility[3], proposed by the Commission to help the EU rebuild after the pandemic, offers an unprecedented opportunity to support tourism and ensure that the sector helps to drive digital and green transitions, and thereby strengthens both economic and social resilience.

The aim of the Recovery and Resilience Facility is to provide large-scale financial support for reforms and investments undertaken by Member States, to mitigate the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic, making the EU’s economies more sustainable and resilient. In order to benefit from this unprecedented funding opportunity, Member States must submit to the Commission as from 15 October 2020 (until April 2021) their draft recovery and resilience plans outlining national investment and reform agendas in line with the twin strategic objectives: digitalisation and sustainability.

Tourism must be firmly incorporated in the recovery and resilience plans. Meanwhile the sector needs continued support to survive and help to drive recovery. Tourism is micro/SME dominated, a composition on which Europe’s distinctiveness and appeal as a destination depends. Smaller businesses always return employment to the economy faster than larger corporations: access to short-term funding means long-term job generation. The sector accounts for 9.5% of the EU’s GDP, provides jobs to 22.6 million people[4] and has a direct impact on transport, retail, agri-food industry, and the wider economy. According to UNWTO[5], Europe saw a 66% decline in tourist arrivals in the first half of 2020 and WTTC estimates[6] that the region risks losing 29.5 million of travel and tourism jobs (80% of 2019) and losing 1,442 billion EUR in travel and tourism GDP (80% of 2019) due to the COVID-19.

The European economy and social wellbeing are clearly in danger if we do not take urgent action in building and financing the recovery of the travel and tourism sector: 1 EUR of value generated by tourism results in an additional 56 cent of added value in indirect effect on other industries[7]. Investing in tourism will provide long-term benefit to communities, visitors and business throughout Europe.

With appropriate support, tourism can be one of the most effective engines to deliver sustainable development: it supports employment across all areas and demographics, contributes to well-being, and generates revenue needed to preserve community identity, culture and heritage. It is also one of our best exports.

Tourism is transversal and its long value chain touches upon multiple sub-sectors. A healthy travel and tourism ecosystem can help achieve all four general objectives of the Recovery and Resilience Facility: promote the EU’s economic, social and territorial cohesion, strengthen the Union’s resilience, mitigate the impact of the crisis and support green and digital transitions.

It is therefore essential that impact on the travel and tourism ecosystem is an evaluation criterion for all major components of Recovery and Resilience plans. The multiplier effect of smart investment which also benefits tourism is highly significant. The European Tourism Manifesto alliance is ready to help Member States in drafting their Recovery plans to ensure that the proposed reforms and investments create a favourable environment in which tourism can develop in a sustainable and resilient way, and continue to create jobs, fostering cohesion and building the path towards a sustainable recovery from the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the European Tourism Manifesto

The European Tourism Manifesto alliance gathers more than 60 European public and private organisations, covering the whole tourism value chain and beyond. The alliance calls on the European Union for action on key policy priorities for the tourism sector. For more information, please visit tourismmanifesto.eu.
The Secretariat and Chairmanship of the alliance are currently held by the European Travel Commission (ETC). For any enquiries, please contact us via https://tourismmanifesto.eu/contact/.

1 Communication from the European Commission ‘Europe's moment: Repair and Prepare for the Next Generation’, 27th May 2020 -https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/communication-europe-moment-repair-prepare-next-generation.pdf
2 Commission Staff Working Document ‘Identifying Europe's recovery needs’, accompanying the document Communication from the European Commission ‘Europe's moment: Repair and Prepare for the Next Generation’, 27th May 2020 -
3 Commission presents next steps for €672.5 billion Recovery and Resilience Facility in 2021 Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy, 17th September 2020 - https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_20_1659
4 WTTC, EU 2020 ANNUAL RESEARCH: KEY HIGHLIGHTS (2019 data) - https://wttc.org/Research/Economic-Impact
5 UNWTO, World Tourism Barometer, August/September 2020 - https://www.unwto.org/news/international-tourist-numbers-down-65-in-first-half-of-2020-unwto-reports
6 https://wttc.org/News-Article/More-than-197m-Travel-Tourism-jobs-will-be-lost-due-to-prolonged-travel-restrictions
7 Communication from the European Commission ‘Tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond’, 13th May 2020 - https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/communication-commission-tourism-transport-2020-and-beyond_en.pdf

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The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), an official advisory body of the European Union, published its opinion on Transport and Tourism in 2020 and beyond. It recommends policy measures to help the boating and nautical tourism sector in its recovery and return to growth after COVID-19.

The opinion was adopted by the plenary of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on 18th September with a majority of 217- 2 . The body, representing employers, workers and civil society forms an integral part of the EU’s decision-making process through its recommendations.

Led by rapporteur Panagiotis Gkofas, the opinion calls for measures to support the tourism and transport sector survive and recover from the impact of COVID-19. This includes calls for a harmonised approach to travel restrictions, a strategic plan to implement economic and other support measures and tax relief for businesses. The opinion also includes several measures specific for the boating and nautical tourism industry that EBI has been calling for.

  • Recognition and support to tourism sectors offering non-mass and outdoor tourism, such as nautical tourism, to speed up recovery of the wider tourism sector and protect jobs
  • Support and promotion of international trade opportunities for sectors connected to tourism that have been impacted by COVID-19, such as boat-building 
  • Changes to the EU VAT Directive allowing a reduced VAT rate to be applied for boat charter and marinas at national level
  • Funding for the environmental and digital transformation of tourism and its infrastructure
  • Development of cross-border routes for nautical tourism and funding for tourism marketing
  • Public funding and guidelines for the safe organisation of trade fairs
  • Comprehensive approach for skills and qualifications and mutual recognition of licences for skippers of small commercial vessels

Commenting on the EESC opinion, EBI Secretary-General Philip Easthill said “We are delighted to receive such a positive endorsement and push by the European Economic and Social Committee for the tourism sector and nautical tourism sector in particular. The exchange that we have had with the EESC in advance of this opinion is an example of how crucial the dialogue between industry and policy-makers is at this time. It helps develop suitable policy measures to support companies, protect jobs and those regions reliant on the boating industry. We call on the EU institutions and EU countries to follow the recommendations and put the sector on track for a strong recovery in 2020 and beyond.”

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Tourism ManifestoThe European Tourism Manifesto alliance, the voice of the European travel and tourism sector, calls on Member States to urgently agree on harmonised travel restrictions and ensure swift implementation to help the sector survive this unprecedented crisis.

The European Tourism Manifesto alliance applauds renewed efforts of the European Commission[1] as well as the initiative from the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union from last week to improve coordination on cross-border travel and restore the integrity of the Schengen area. The need for continued COVID-19 control is foreseeable and, under Art.24 of the Schengen Borders Code, any related border restrictions must be coordinated. In the wake of an expected dramatic economic downturn, it is crucial that travel within the EU and the wider European area (including EEA, UK and Switzerland) be carefully and quickly restored. In addition, international coordination to re-establish transatlantic travel would provide a vital boost to the travel and tourism sector.

European travel and tourism is the ecosystem most affected by the coronavirus crisis due to insufficiently coordinated travel restrictions, declining traveller confidence and reduced consumer demand. The 2020 summer season was strongly impacted by this crisis, with traveller confidence reaching a record low. Hotel occupancy rates in Europe were at 26.5% in July 2020, which accounts for a fall of 66.4% compared to the same month last year [2]. Moreover, top 5 European destinations, such as France, Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands only saw just 40% of 2019’s volumes for intra-European travel, with Spain lagging at 22% of last year’s volumes[3].

While many Europeans were keen to travel again during the summer, the inconsistent and ever-changing border restrictions along with confusion about quarantine and test requirements, caused frustration for both businesses and travellers, deterring booking and damaging materialisation for both leisure and business travel.

We call on national governments to urgently approve the European Commission’s proposal and to:

  • Establish common criteria and thresholds for determining epidemiological risk, including a common colour-coding system to identify risk areas. These criteria should be evaluated on a detailed regional level, considering relevant geographical factors (particularly islands).
    • Implement common measures to put in place upon departure to and return from risk areas. These measures should be determined with sufficient detail and based on scientific evidence (as there is no reason to restrict travel to entire countries if only certain regions are affected), and comprise:
    • Replacing the need for quarantine of travellers with comprehensive cost-effective testing and tracing
    • Avoiding blanket restrictions to free movement by implementing more targeted measures which are limited in geographical scope
    • Avoiding imposing travel restrictions on passengers in transit
    • Agreeing on common rules for requesting pre-travel COVID-19 negative test results where needed
    • Ensuring the interoperability of contact tracing apps in the EU and the harmonization of Passenger Locator Forms based on international standards.
  • Follow a common structured and transparent process to publish clear, comprehensive and timely information about any travel restrictions where these are needed. Information should also be made available on the ‘Re-open EU' web platform[4].

The sector has been calling for better coordination between Member States and a harmonised European approach to travel restrictions and safety measures since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such an approach will help rebuild traveller confidence and help the sector in its slow recovery, protecting millions of livelihoods, jobs, and enterprises. Pending the return of significant visitor flows, continued financial support for the sector is necessary so that the European tourism ecosystem returns employment to the economy as soon as possible.

Proving the importance of tourism recovery as a catalyst for European economic revival, the latest WTTC research[5] shows that every 2.7% increase in travel flows would generate or bring back one million jobs in the sector. Harmonising the inconsistent patchwork of COVID-19 rules and travel advice in Europe could lead to an increase in travellers by as much as 27%, recreating 10 million jobs in travel and tourism across Europe.

Note to editors

The European Tourism Manifesto alliance gathers more than 60 European public and private organisations, covering the whole tourism value chain and beyond. The alliance calls on the European Union for action on key policy priorities for the tourism sector. For more information, please visit tourismmanifesto.eu.

[1] European Commission’s Proposal for a COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 4th September 2020 - https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_1555
[1] https://str.com/press-release/str-europe-hotel-performance-july-2020
[1] Dates are compared from January 6 – July 12, 2020 with the same time last year; https://forwardkeys.com/q4-outlook-for-travel-in-europe/

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The European Commission published its yearly Blue Economy Report. It is based on 2018 data collected from Eurostat. It includes specific information for each sector in the blue economy, including “building of pleasure and sporting boats”, “repair and maintenance of ships and boats”, as well as “coastal and maritime tourism”. This is broken down at national level for key indicators, such as employment, value added, turnover, gross profit margin and other key indicators.

The report also includes a case study on “The Recreational Boating Industry: Made in Europe” (from page 150). Besides providing key figures on the impact of the recreational boating industry, it also includes information on the policy measures needed to support the sector (access to finance, recognition of skipper qualifications, VAT, as well as others).

The full report can be found here, as well as the country-specific information here and here. The European Commission also provides an online dashboard to view the data here.

Published in Newsletter June 2020
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The report was published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission and covers assessments conducted in 2019. It is published yearly and provides information to citizens on the quality of bathing water sites in Europe. Over 20,000 bathing water sites were monitored across EU, the UK, Albania and Switzerland. Bathing water quality in Europe remains at a high level with the minimum water quality standards met at 95 % of sites.

The share of sites rated ‘excellent’ stands at 84.6 % across Europe and 84.8 % in EU countries. The quality of coastal sites is generally better than that of inland sites. 87.4 %, of coastal bathing sites were classified as of excellent quality compared to 79.1 % of inland sites in the EU. The share of poor-quality sites has dropped since 2013. In 2019, poor bathing waters constituted 1.3 % of all sites in the EU, compared to 2 % in 2013.

The full report can be found here. A map with bathing water quality per country and site can be found here.

Published in Newsletter June 2020
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The European Commission published the “Re-open EU” map that provides real-time information on EU internal borders, tourism services and health information. The aim is to support the summer tourism season by providing travellers with relevant information.

The map can be found here and is available for all EU countries (and Switzerland) in all official languages. The map was one of the demands voiced by tourism stakeholders (including EBI) to support the start of the tourism season in the context of COVID-19. Nautical tourism activities (marinas, water sports and boat charter/hire) are covered under the heading “beaches and tourist areas”.

Published in Newsletter June 2020
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On 13 May the European Commission presented a package of measures to support the tourism industry in the COVID-19 crisis and start the summer season (see here). It encourages consumers to take advantage of the summer tourism season and help the EU tourism sector recover. It includes an overall strategy towards recovery in 2020 and beyond, a gradual lifting of border restrictions, re-establishment of transport links, criteria for restoring tourism activities and health protocols, as well as a recommendation on vouchers as alternatives to reimbursement . These guidelines and recommendations are provided to EU countries and companies for implementation.

Throughout these measures, the Commission recognises the importance of on-water recreation, and the maritime and inland waterway tourism industry. At several points, it highlights that leisure boating should not fall under a general prohibition but be allowed following a risk-based approach and implementing specific procedures, such as regular cleaning and disinfection. EU countries should lift restrictions for leisure boating based on specific health and safety protocols. The Commission specifically mentions marinas and resuming activity in these under strict health and safety conditions. The Commission recognises that domestic and intra-EU tourism will be increasingly popular and should be promoted. It sees a strong role for maritime and inland waterway tourism in this.

The announcement from the European Commission comes after many weeks of advocacy activities and dozens of virtual meetings by EBI with the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament and other members of the EU institutions. Advocacy actions were based on the joint policy paper that 19 European boating industry associations and EBI signed in early April (see here). This unity has been key to advocacy. Several boating industry associations have also prepared guidelines to facilitate the application of social distancing rules and all applicable health and safety requirements.

The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, the voice of the European travel and tourism sector of which EBI is a member, has issued a statement on the European Commission’s Tourism package. It highlights that the package represents a first and important step to facilitate travel and tourism in Europe, support the sector’s recovery from the crisis and enable a more sustainable tourism ecosystem in the future. It calls for a swift implementation and further measures to ensure that the tourism industry can restart and recover. The full statement can be found here.

Published in Newsletter May 2020
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