Brussels, 27 March 2019

Promoting the importance of tourism in the EU

In cooperation with EURACTIV, the TUI Group Corporate Office EU organized the workshop “Tourism – a key driver for socio-economic progress” on the 26th of February 2019.

Tourism brings numerous benefits to the world and travellers. In addition to contributing to economic and social development, it stimulates cultural exchange, provides the rationale for the protection of natural and cultural heritage and adds to travellers’ personal well-being. Hence, Tourism plays a very significant role as a force for good in the EU and around the world. 

The event was organised as a panel discussion with experts from different fields. Ms Elena Kountoura, Minister of Tourism in Greece and Mr Antti Peltomäki, Deputy Director General of DG Grow in the European Commission, opened the debate as the two keynote speakers. Further panel participants from the political field were Members of the TRAN (Tourism and Transport) Committee of the European Parliament, Ms Claudia Tapardel and Ms Inés Ayala Sender. The civil society was represented by Ms Kerstin Howald, Tourism Sector Secretary from the European Federation of Food, Agriculture, and Tourism Trade Unions. The tourism industry was represented by Ms Jane Ashton, TUI Group Director of Sustainable Development, who brought a great perspective on how tourism can grow sustainably in the future to the discussion.

Tourism is impacted by many policy areas, for instance: transport, consumer protection, agriculture and rural development, education, culture, employment, environment, regional policy etc. 

The discussion revealed a strong demand by all panellists for a better position of Travel and Tourism on the EU political agenda. In the new legislative period after the upcoming European elections, a greater awareness of the significance of tourism as an overarching “sector of sectors” could create a favourable environment for the further development and growth of the tourism industry, in a sustainable way.