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Tourism stakeholders urge investment in sustainable tourism as part of EU recovery

European Tourism Manifesto whitepaperThe European Tourism Manifesto alliance, which represents over 60 European travel & tourism stakeholders covering the whole value chain of travel operations across Europe, has called on European governments to include tourism as a strategic part of their national Recovery and Resilience plans.

The Call for Action: Accelerate Social and Economic Recovery by Investing in Sustainable Tourism Development paper recently published by the alliance emphasises that the new Recovery and Resilience Facility[1] agreed by the EU institutions to help rebuild the bloc’s economy offers an unprecedented opportunity to reset travel in Europe and build a more sustainable, resilient and innovative tourism sector.

To assist EU governments in drafting their national recovery plans, the paper presents a non-exhaustive list of reforms and investment ideas to drive digital and green transitions of travel & tourism and wider EU economies. Examples of some of the investment proposals included in the paper relate to the greening of tourism destination infrastructure; the development of clean fuels for transportation and investment in multimodal transport solutions; investments in tourism marketing and promotion to kick-start recovery; a fast rollout of rapid broadband services to rural, coastal and mountainous areas and the acceleration of fibre and 5G networks for travellers; and support to digital skills training for tourism workers.

Paving the way towards tourism of tomorrow

Eduardo Santander, Chairman of the European Tourism Manifesto alliance and CEO of the European Travel Commission, said: “With appropriate support, travel and tourism can be one of the most effective engines to deliver sustainable development in 2021 and beyond. The sector supports employment across all areas and demographics, contributes to social inclusion and wellbeing and generates revenue needed to preserve community identity, culture, and heritage. We urge EU governments to follow our call and firmly anchor tourism & travel in their crisis response and recovery plans”.

To support the alliance’s call to action, a new #Tourism4Recovery campaign was launched today with the goal of raising awareness of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 crisis on European tourism and showcasing how investment in sustainable tourism can be a key driver for the EU’s recovery. The campaign features a dedicated website page with user-generated content as well as a series of social media videos presenting tourism as a force for sustainable development. The alliance urges its travel & tourism partners to join the conversation online and promote key investments required for sustainable tourism recovery in their countries and across Europe.

Travel & tourism facing a deep crisis

Investment in the sustainable recovery of travel & tourism will benefit multiple sub-sectors given the transversal nature of the sector and its extensive value-chain. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel & tourism accounted for more than 9.5% of EU GDP, providing jobs to 22.6 million people[2] across Europe with a direct impact on transport, retail, the agri-food industry and the wider economy. Is it estimated that every 1 euro of value generated by tourism results in an additional 56 cents of added value in indirect effects on other European industries[3].

According to the European Commission’s assessment[4], travel & tourism is one of the ecosystems most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and requires €161 billion worth of investment to bounce back to pre-crisis levels[5]. Without that sectoral regeneration, however, the socio-economic risks are severe. Europe saw a 70% decline in tourist arrivals[6] in 2020, with 11.5 million travel and tourism jobs[7] already impacted in the EU.

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