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IP/10/423

Brussels, 14-15 April 2010

A new strategic vision for the EU's Tourism Policy

The European Tourism Stakeholders Conference, being held in Madrid today and tomorrow, will explore ways and means to strengthen the visibility of tourism at a European level and to verify how the actions to promote a competitive EU tourism industry and a sustainable growth of European tourism can be consolidated in an updated EU tourism policy framework, to be implemented in close cooperation with the national and regional authorities and the EU private tourism stakeholders.

Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "Tourism is one of the economic activities with most significant potential to generate future growth and employment in the EU. Like all the economic sectors, tourism was affected by the recent economic downturn, but has proven to be, nevertheless, one of the most resilient sectors, recently even showing signs of muted recovery and growth."

The European Commission, in close collaboration with the Spanish Presidency of the Council, is organising a European Tourism Stakeholders Conference, in Madrid, Spain on the 14 and 15 April 2010.

Tourism is a key sector of the European economy. It comprises a wide variety of products and destinations and involves many different stakeholders, both public and private, with areas of competence very decentralised, often at regional and local levels.

Europe could embrace the quality, sustainable and accessible tourism that makes us unique in the world, thanks to its historical, artistic and cultural heritage, to the high quality formation of the personnel and to the attention paid to the environment.

The Lisbon Treaty acknowledges the importance of tourism, outlining, for the first time, a specific competence for the European Union in this field and allowing for decisions to be taken by qualified majority. This should reinforce the EU as the foremost tourist destination of the world.

The EU tourism industry generates more than 5% of the EU GDP, with about 1.8 million enterprises employing around 5.2% of the total labour force (approximately 9.7 million jobs). When related sectors are taken into account, the estimated contribution of tourism to GDP creation is much higher: tourism indirectly generates more than 10% of the European Union's GDP and provides about 12% of the labour force.

At the conference in Madrid, specific themes will be discussed including innovation and competitiveness, sustainable and socially responsible tourism, as well as ways of reinforcing the image of Europe as a tourist destination. Ministers and State Secretaries from all EU and Candidate Countries will share their views, alongside senior officials representing European stakeholders and the private sector.

The outcome of the Conference will pave the way for a coordinated and coherent approach on forthcoming initiatives on tourism policy to be undertaken at European level. This is expected to be reflected in a Declaration that will be presented to the Commission. This conference coincides with an Informal Ministerial meeting on Tourism that will be hosted by the Spanish Presidency.

More information on the European Commission’s tourism policy - http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/tourism/index_en.htm


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