The consolidation of the image of Europe as a collection of sustainable and high-quality tourist destinations, the facilitation of tourism flows from third countries and the maximisation of the potential of EU policies and financial instruments for developing tourism, were the topics under discussion at the 11th European Tourism Forum, held at the ‘Filoxenia’ Conference Centre in Lefkosia (Nicosia). The two-day forum, which ended today, October 26, was co-organised by the Cyprus Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation and the European Commission, and was attended by stakeholders from all levels of the EU’s tourism industry.
The springboard for the discussions on the ways for Europe to remain the world’s top tourist destination was the European Commission’s Communication of June 2010 entitled “Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe”.
According to the Cypriot Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Mr. Neoklis Sylikiotis, “the constantly changing conditions, coupled with the prospects created, call for immediate and decisive actions, so that Europe, as a single tourist destination, can maintain its leading position in the international tourism environment”.
Europe as a collection of tourist destinations
The EU aims at promoting Europe as a single high-quality, mature and modern tourist destination, offering high-level services and activities. As explained by Minister Sylikiotis, the forum highlighted the need for cooperation among all stakeholders, complementary actions for achieving synergies and added value results, and, finally, for horizontally spreading the benefits and balancing the effects, of any actions and activities undertaken.
Facilitating tourism flows from third countries
The forum’s participants agreed on the need to take advantage of the potential of third countries as sources for tourism in Europe.
“Particularly in relation to the visa policy, it was pointed out that the current difficulties and obstacles must be overcome. However, the resulting solutions must be such that security issues do not arise,” stressed Mr. Sylikiotis.
Maximising the potential of EU policies and financial instruments
Tourism is vital to Europe’s economic growth and employment, with the European tourism industry generating over 5% of EU GDP and its 1.8 million businesses employing approximately 5.2% of the total workforce, equivalent to 9.7 million jobs. The forum’s discussions on further developing tourism flows from third countries, indicated the importance of taking into account the influence of other EU policies on the tourism sector, especially with respect to maximising the potential of the Union’s policies and financial instruments for the sector’s development.
“In addition, we have reaffirmed our commitment to exploiting the prospects opening up in European policies with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty and through the promotion of Europe-wide actions, based on the principle of subsidiarity”, said Minister Sylikiotis.