|Growth through quality and responsibility|
Commissioner Tajani presents new EU tourism policy
A communication published at the end of June presents his ideas for how to use the EU mandate for tourism created with the adoption of the Lisbon treaty. The focus is on developing the economic potential of the sector, for example through the use of new information technologies, the development of off-season tourism and global promotion of Europe as a tourism destination.
However, the communication also takes into account sustainability aspects. Negative impacts such as climate change, water scarcity, biodiversity loss or destruction of cultural heritage have to be avoided in order to preserve the long-term basis of the sector. Tajani explicitly acknowledges the importance of natural capital. Similar to the “European Cultural Capital” initiative, the areas belonging to the “Natura 2000” network may in the future be developed as European (low-impact) tourism destinations.
Additionally, the Commission is currently developing indicators of sustainable destination management that shall eventually lead to the creation of a European quality label. Awareness raising campaigns, a Charta for Sustainable Tourism and an award for sustainable businesses and destinations shall increase public attention for these issues. However, broader issues such as the environmental impact of tourist travel are not mentioned in the communication.
The Commission will now develop these ideas into a more detailed action plan to be presented at the European Tourism Forum in November 2010. During the preparations it will also consult with the Sustainable Tourism Group of which NFI Secretary General Christian Baumgartner is a member.
Sandra Roling, July 2010