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A high-level conference on opportunities and challenges in the tourism sector will be held in the European Parliament in Brussels on 27 September from 14.00 to 19.00.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who initiated the event, said:  “Tourism is the answer to youth unemployment in many European regions. It’s a key vector for growth and employment, accounting for 10% of our GDP and promising 5 million new jobs over the next decade. We can do much more if we work together. If we want Europe to remain the world’s top destination, we need to support the industry’s competitiveness through bolder coordinated action at European level.”


EU countries are among the world's most popular tourism destinations. As the third-largest economic activity in the EU, tourism is of considerable importance as a source of economic growth, regional development and employment.


However, the sector faces challenges such as reducing its impact on the environment, attracting investment, keeping pace with the digital revolution, coping with growing competition from destinations outside the EU and improving the quality of tourism jobs.


The conference will bring together political leaders, policy makers and stakeholders to debate these challenges in three panels:


  • How to attract more investment, improve the business environment and upgrade skills,
  • Tourism innovation and digital economy, and
  • Promoting Europe as the number one tourist destination


In a resolution adopted by the European Parliament in October 2015, MEPs encouraged the EU Commission to examine the possibility of creating a section within the EU’s next long-term budget, the multiannual financial framework (MFF), dedicated exclusively to tourism. They also want to boost efforts to improve Europe's branding as a tourist destination and to promote sustainable, responsible and eco-friendly tourism in cooperation with strategic partners.


The conference takes place in the Parliament Hemicycle in Brussels from 14:00 until 19:00. You can follow live here.


A press point by President Tajani is scheduled at 15:30 in front of the Hemicycle. You can follow live here.


All journalists accredited to the European Parliament will be able to attend the conference with their usual media accreditation only. Seats are reserved for the press for the opening, roundtables and closing. Video and photo journalists should request a special audiovisual badge (“T-badge”) to be allowed to record or take photos during the conference. Requests for audiovisual badges can be sent to or requested at the press entrance (left side of the Paul-Henri Spaak building, when seen from Place Luxembourg – 1 on the map).


The conference programme is available here.