Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Other available languages: FR DE DA ES NL IT PT EL

Recognising that tourism, due  to its  increasing importance, can  contribute
to the  achievement of economic growth  and employment,  to the reinforcement
of economic  and social  cohesion as  well as  to the  promotion of  European
identity, the  European Commission proposed  the First Multiannual  Programme
to assist European  Tourism (1997-2000),  named "Philoxenia",  which aims  to
stimulate the  quality and  competitiveness  of  European tourism  taking  in
particular  into  account the  balanced and  sustainable  development  of the
sector, the satisfaction of  the tourists' needs and the rational use  of the
natural, cultural and infrastructural resources.

Following  a proposal  by Commissioner  Christos  PAPOUTSIS, responsible  for
Tourism, the Commission adopted today a proposal to the Council on the  First
Multiannual Programme to assist European Tourism (1997-2000), the purpose  of
which  is to innovate  in terms of  both the methods  and the  content of the
Community action by making the  appropriate interventions in order  to tackle
specific problems faced by tourism as  well as to increase the  effectiveness
and the impact of all other tourism related Community actions.

Upon  adoption   of  the  proposal  on   the  First   Multiannual  Programme,
Commissioner  C. Papoutsis  said:  "I express  my  satisfaction for  the fact
that,  after  the  implementation  of some  actions  of  experimental  nature
launched in  the  recent years,  the  need for  renewed  Community action  to
assist tourism has been recognised by the Commission on  the basis of the new
challenges  that European  tourism has to  face.  Hospitality  is inherent in
European culture and traditions are a key element  of quality in tourism. So,
the name  chosen for  the Programme, 'Philoxenia',  highlights the importance
the Commission  attaches to  this basic  factor. Now,  we have  the means  to
respond  with  a  strategic approach  to  the needs  of  this  very important
European industry".

The  ultimate objective  of the  Programme  "Philoxenia" (hospitality)  is to
stimulate the quality  and competitiveness of  European tourism  in order  to
contribute to  growth  and  employment.  To  achieve  this  major  goal,  the
Programme sets  a  number  of  general  objectives  to  be  obtained  through
different specific actions. In particular the general objectives are:

  A.   The  improvement of  knowledge in the  field of  tourism by developing
       tourism related  information, pooling tourism  information from  other
       sources  and   facilitating  the  assessment   of  Community  measures
       affecting tourism. 

  B.   The  improvement of  the  legislative  and financial  environment  for
       tourism by  reinforcing cooperation with  Member States, the  industry
       and other stakeholders.

  C.   The  increase of quality of European tourism  by promoting sustainable
       tourism and removing obstacles to tourism development.

  D.   The  increase  of the  number  of  visitors  from  third countries  by
       promoting Europe as a tourist destination.

The programme, with its  targeted objectives and specific measures,  provides
a  coherent  framework which  shall  help  both  public  authorities and  the
industry to better  tackle the weaknesses  and problems  relating to  quality
and professionalism European tourism is faced with. 

The  actions  of the  Programme  will  be  implemented  through a  reinforced
cooperation  with  the  national  authorities  and,  if  necessary, with  the
regional and local authorities, the industry and other parties concerned.

The  Commission will  regularly  evaluate the  results  of the  Programme and
every year  will  present  a  report  on  all  Community  measures  affecting
tourism, which are carried out in the context of other Community policies.

Evaluation of the Action Plan 1993 - 1995

Together with the  First Multiannual Programme, the Commission also adopted a
Report  on the  evaluation of  the Community  Action Plan  to assist  Tourism
(1993 -  1995), the  objectives of  which were  to strengthen the  horizontal
approach  to  tourism,  coordinate  the  relevant  work undertaken  by  other
Commission Services and implement 11 specific measures.

Concerning the  evaluation report,  Commissioner C.  Papoutsis said:  "Before
submitting any new  proposal for further actions  in the tourism sector,  the
Commission considered it  was necessary to undertake a careful and exhaustive
evaluation of  the  Action  Plan.  This  evaluation  took  into  account  the
conclusions of an external audit  which showed the strengths,  weaknesses and
limits  of  the  Plan.  The 'Philoxenia'  Programme,  our  first  multiannual
programme, fully takes  on board the  recommendations made  and represents  a
new start for Community action in favour of European tourism".

As  stated in the evaluation  report, the Commission  believes that the Plan,
while  being of an experimental  nature, nevertheless established a framework
which  provided a useful  context for  practical action.   The Plan  has been
successful in establishing  links between Commission services,  Member States
and other regional  and sectoral interests.   It has also provided  the basis
on which  partnerships  with  the  industry  can  be  increased  and  further
developed.   The  development of  robust  and  effective policies  to  assist
tourism is a challenging task.   The diversity, nature and enormous potential
of tourism requires appropriate action at many different levels:

local,  regional,  national   as  well  as  European.    Only  concerted  and
complementary efforts will  help to ensure  a competitive,  high quality  and
sustainable tourism industry.

The  report   has  shown  that  the  Community  Action   Plan  has  had  both
shortcomings and positive effects.  It  has served as a useful basis that has
indicated the type of future actions which may assist this vital industry.

                                                               A N N E X    I

Main facts on European tourism

The tourism industry has been, and will  continue to be, of great  importance
for the attainment of the broader objectives of the European Union. Its  main
contributions to  these  goals are  the  creation  of jobs  and  wealth,  the
opportunities offered for certain classes  of the employment market  (such as
women and young  people), helping to  achieve economic  and social  cohesion,
the opportunity  given to less developed  and peripheral  regions to progress
economically,  helping  to  protect  and  enhance  the  natural  and cultural
environment,  the  opportunity  to  bring  Europeans   together,  break  down
barriers, consolidate European identity and vision.

But, tourism is a heterogeneous industry. It constitutes  a complex system of
activities  involving  over  100 different  branches  which  channel  tourism
spending  flows throughout  the  economy. The  business stretches  from  some
multinational companies  to  thousands of  SMEs  and  family firms.  In  this
respect, although  tourism is attracting capital  investors from industry and
other service  sectors eager  to diversify  their portfolios  by creating  or
consolidating  their position  in tourism-related  activities,  it remains  a
domain where the apparent productivity  ratio (in respect of  human resources
involved) is low  and assistance for developing financial engineering is most
required. 

In addition to this, tourism appears quite atypical  in comparison with other
European industries. On  the one hand, tourism activities are quite diffused,
involving  every  single region  of  the Union.  On the  other  hand, tourist
attractions are concentrated  in limited areas, often subject to seasonal use
and land pressure.  A successful exploitation of  tourism potential,  notably
in terms of  local development and job  creation, thus appears more  and more
dependent upon the capacity to manage growth.

Last, but not  least, tourism is more  than an industry. Not only  because of
its far-reaching  societal implications, but  also because of its  particular
responsibility  with regard  to  its effects  on  the resources  on  which it
thrives. The  performance  of  the  tourism  industry  depends  both  on  the
competence,  expertise and financial resources  of its  entrepreneurs, and on
the  availability  of special  "raw material"  (such  as  beaches, mountains,
rural  areas, city  centres,  monuments,  museums, galleries)  and  transport
infrastructures (such as roads, railways, harbours, airports).

Nevertheless, the obvious  idea of a systematic co-ordinating approach by all
those concerned, including  the various public authorities, is far from being
recognised. While it  is practised in some limited fields, its generalisation
in the  form of public/private partnerships  and more  integration of private
sector  interests has  yet  to take  place. As  a  consequence, the  basis of
possible corrective strategies  avoiding the dangers looming  ahead is  still
very weak.

                                                               A N N E X   II

ACTIONS IN FAVOUR OF EUROPEAN TOURISM

A.   Improving knowledge in the field of tourism

A.1  Developing tourism related information, through

     - Consolidation   of  the  European   statistical  system  for  tourism,
       improving the availability of reliable and up-to-date statistics;

     - Development of surveys,  studies and desk/field analyses, taking  into
       account the tourism industry needs.

A.2    Pooling tourism information from other sources, through

     - Establishment  of a  European research  and  documentation network  on
       tourism.

A.3  Facilitating  the assessment  of  Community measures  affecting tourism,
     through

     - Establishment   of  a  legal  and  financial  watch   allowing  for  a
       systematic assessment of Community measures affecting tourism.

B.   Improving the legislative and financial environment for tourism

B.1  Reinforcing  cooperation  with Member  States,  the  Industry and  other
     stakeholders, through

     - Organisation  and  follow-up  of regular  meetings  with  the  parties
       concerned, to  reinforce co-operation at European  level and to  raise
       awareness  of  Community  initiatives  (technical/thematic   meetings,
       round-tables, European fora).

C.   Raising quality in European tourism

C.1  Promoting sustainable development, through

     - Support  to  local  initiatives geared  towards  sound  management  of
       visitors flows and stimulation of their networking;

     - Support  to the implementation of  environmentally friendly management
       systems in tourist accommodations;

     - Organisations  of  a  'European Prize  for  Tourism  and  Environment'
       (every two years).

C.2  Removing obstacles to tourism development, through

     - Identification  of the principal  obstacles at European level faced by
       various  forms  of  tourism  as  well  as  by  specific  categories of
       tourists  (such as  young people,  the  elderly and  disabled people),
       development of appropriate responses.

D.   Increasing the number of visitors from Third Countries

D.1  Promoting Europe as a tourist destination, through

     - Support  for  multi-annual   promotion  campaigns  in  major   issuing
       countries and/or  emerging zones,  with the  support of  participating
       sponsors.

***

Side Bar