At the end of May, the European Commission unveiled the long-awaited EU Recovery Plan, Next Generation EU, with an unprecedented €750 billion backing. A mixture of grants and loans will be available for EU countries to finance their recovery, as well as several EU programmes being strengthened. Tourism and recreation are mentioned as the sectors most affected by COVID-19 and will be prioritised. The focus is on achieving a green and digital recovery.
European Boating Industry (EBI), on behalf of the European recreational boating industry welcomes the EU Recovery Plan. It calls for national and EU investment programmes to incorporate the particularities of the boating and nautical tourism industry and ensure that investment is provided for a green and digital transition. This can also allow nautical tourism to play a strong role in developing a more sustainable tourism and strengthen European regions long-term.
In its position paper reacting to the Recovery Plan, EBI presents recommendations to ensure survival of companies and for the green and digital transition to realise its potential for boating and nautical tourism. EBI calls for specific recognition and support for investment needs of the industry within national recovery plans and EU programmes. This requires a clearer differentiation between the needs and infrastructure of for maritime transport and recreational boating. EBI also supports the European Parliament’s call for a dedicated budget line for tourism in the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework.
EBI also provides its suggestions for specific investment priorities for the boating and nautical tourism industry as an ecosystem belonging to tourism and the maritime sector. These include the digital and green transformation of marinas, development of local and regional nautical tourism infrastructure, research and innovation as well as other concrete investment areas. This needs to be accompanied by the promotion of regional and European nautical tourism, which has substantial potential given the given the relative ease of implementing social distancing rules, renewed consumer interest in outdoor tourism and potential for development of regional tourism opportunities.