Advancing sustainable tourism across Europe is
at the centre of an agreement signed on Wednesday between the
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the European Parliament.
During his first official visit to
Brussels (27-28 February), UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab
Pololikashvili, met with the President of the European Parliament,
Antonio Tajani, the European Commissioner for Internal Market,
Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska as well
as the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and
Responsible for the Tourism Task Force, Istvan Ujhelyi and the
representatives of the European Tourism Manifesto.
Addressing the Tourism Task Force of the
European Parliament Mr. Pololikashvili highlighted the need to
enhance integration, connectivity and technology to maximize the
role of tourism in creating jobs and stimulating growth in the
European Union (EU).
Europe is currently the world’s leading tourism
destination receiving half of the world’s 1.3 billion
international arrivals. In 2017, international tourism in Europe
grew 8%, one percentage point above the world average, totalling
671 million tourists.
During the signing of the agreement, Mr.
Pololikashvili stressed how “the best way to ensure tourism’s
positive impact for its people is by working closely with the
European Parliament as the representative of the people of
Europe ... Today we are becoming stronger partners in our work to
make tourism, and cultural tourism in particular, a driver of
prosperity, opportunity, and better livelihoods across the EU.”
The agreement coincides with 2018 as
the European Year of Cultural Heritage and is an opportunity to
highlight the relevance of cultural tourism, which is an
outstanding travel asset in the EU countries.
“Over the next 10 years, tourism can create more
than 5 million new jobs, not least because the number of tourists
is set to double to more than 2 billion. Europe must not let this
opportunity pass by. Through the growth of tourism, we can offer
real prospects for the new generations and boost strategic sectors
of the economy, such as transport, trade, luxury goods,
shipbuilding, construction, agri-foodstuffs and the cultural and
creative industries” said Antonio Tajani. “We can’t just wait for
this to happen by itself. We must work, including with UNWTO, to
improve our competitiveness and our skills, to face the challenges
of digitalisation and to promote Europe as the world’s number one
EU tourism and the EU-China Tourism Year
The UNWTO Secretary-General met with the
European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry,
Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska and exchanged views
with the members of the Tourism Task Force of the European
Parliament and with the public and private stakeholders assembled
around the European Tourism Manifesto.
On the occasion, UNWTO Secretary-General
stressed the importance of working in collaboration with the
European institutions on key priorities: sustainability;
innovation and technology; safety and security; and education and
Addressing the EU–China Tourism Year
Parliamentary Day, which celebrated the EU-China Tourism Year, Mr.
Pololikashvili said “This year comes as an opportunity to make
Europe the best global destination for Chinese tourists and to use
tourism to increase understanding between Europe and China.”
According to the European Travel Commission,
12.4 million Chinese tourists visited the EU in 2017. With an
average above one million per month and considering the prospects
of growth, the impact of Chinese tourists on EU tourism is
relevant factor for European tourism development and bilateral
relations with China.
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