Following nine consecutive years of growth, the tourism ecosystem of the European Union (EU) is among the hardest hit by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Aimed at exploring new ways to get out of the coronavirus crisis and gaining a sustainable recovery of the tourism sector, the European Commission convened a meeting.
Throughout the day, participants at the European Tourism Convention mapped out key challenges and opportunities of the EU tourism sector and proposed a set of actions as a basis for pledges and further discussion feeding into the European Agenda for Tourism.
“Tourism — one of the biggest sectors of our economy — is the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The Commission is providing unprecedented support for this extraordinary situation, including financial means for struggling businesses,” Thierry Breton, EU commissioner for internal market said.
Secretary-general of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili also called on governments to promote green investment to drive sustainable recovery from the crisis caused by the pandemic.
The online conference gathered more than 700 participants, including national and regional public authorities, representatives of European sector associations and the tourism and travel industry, international organisations, academics and NGOs. Discussions focused on three main themes — resilience; sustainability/green transition; digital transition, data and innovation.
According to UNWTO, the EU saw 66% less international tourist arrivals in the first half of 2020, compared to the same period last year. Although the EU interior borders were partially reopened in the summer, the exterior border has largely been closed to the world.