Tourism: A key driver for socio-economic progress

Tourism plays an important role in the EU because of its economic and employment potential, as well as its social and environmental implications. According to the European Commission, tourism is the third largest socio-economic activity in the EU, after the trade and construction sectors.

Tourism also promotes the development of European regions, and when sustainable, helps to preserve and enhance cultural and natural heritage. Moreover, tourism specialists argue that tourist spending is higher than development aid and supports the development of education systems, prosperity and infrastructure.

Because of its transversal nature, tourism is impacted by various policies, including transport, environment, consumer protection and regional development. However, the role of tourism can be underestimated by policymakers. The EU’s competence in tourism is one of support and coordination to supplement the actions of Member States. In order to support the evolution and growth of tourism, more resources and high visibility on the political stage are necessary.

EURACTIV organised a workshop to explore new challenges and opportunities for EU tourism and how it can contribute further to the EU’s socio-economic success in the coming decades.

Questions included:

  • Is the tourism sector underestimated by EU policymakers?
  • How can Member States best receive the necessary support to enhance the positive impacts of tourism?
  • What potential for developing sustainable tourism?

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