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Procedure : 2010/2206(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0265/2011

Texts tabled :

A7-0265/2011

Debates :

PV 26/09/2011 - 19
CRE 26/09/2011 - 19

Votes :

Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes
PV 27/09/2011 - 8.12
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0407

Texts adopted
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Tuesday, 27 September 2011 - Strasbourg Final edition
Tourism in Europe
P7_TA(2011)0407A7-0265/2011

European Parliament resolution of 27 September 2011 on Europe, the world's No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe (2010/2206(INI))

The European Parliament ,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘Basic orientations for the sustainability of European tourism’ (COM(2003)0716),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘A renewed EU Tourism Policy: Towards a stronger partnership for European Tourism’ (COM(2006)0134),

   having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘Agenda for a sustainable and competitive European tourism’ (‘Agenda 21’) (COM(2007)0621),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘Europe, the world's No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe’ (COM(2010)0352),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘Europe 2020. A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2010)2020),

   having regard to the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning European statistics on tourism (COM(2010)0117),

–  having regard to the Madrid Declaration ‘Towards a socially responsible tourism model’ adopted at the informal meeting of Ministers on 15 April 2010,

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 12 October 2010 on ‘Europe, the world's n°1 tourist destination - a new political framework for tourism in Europe’ (14944/10),

–  having regard to the Opinion of the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Europe, the World's No. 1 Tourist Destination: a new political framework for tourism in Europe’ (CoR 342/2010),

–  having regard to the Council Recommendation of 22 December 1986(1) on ‘Fire safety in existing hotels’ (86/666/EEC),

–  having regard to Council Directive 90/314/EEC of 13 June 1990(2) on package travel, package holidays and package tours,

–  having regard to Directive 2006/123/EC(3) of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market,

–  having regard to Council Directive 2009/47/EC(4) of 5 May 2009 amending Directive 2006/112/EC as regards reduced rates of value added tax,

–  having regard to the Commission Decision of 9 July 2009(5) establishing the ecological criteria for the award of the Community eco-label for tourist accommodation service (2009/578/EC),

   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 66/2010(6) of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the EU Ecolabel,

–  having regard to its Resolution of 8 September 2005(7) on new prospects and new challenges for sustainable European tourism,

–  having regard to its Resolution of 29 November 2007(8) on a renewed EU Tourism Policy: Towards a stronger partnership for European Tourism,

–  having regard to its Resolution of 16 December 2008(9) on the regional development aspects of the impact of tourism on coastal regions,

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2011(10) on practical aspects regarding the revision of EU instruments to support SME finance in the next programming period,

–  having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinions of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Regional Development, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the Committee on Culture and Education (A7-0265/2011),

A.  whereas the tourism sector accounts for 10 % of GDP and 12 % of total employment, making it the third most substantial socio-economic activity in the EU; whereas the sector is largely made up of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, is the main resource for some EU regions, such as the islands, and plays a key role in the economic development and economic, social and regional cohesion of the EU and in achieving the goals of the EU 2020 strategy,

B.  whereas tourism also contributes to human enrichment, exchange, welfare, wellbeing, culture and social cohesion; whereas, therefore, the focus should be on a qualitative approach,

C.  whereas the European Union is the world's No 1 tourist destination in terms of international arrivals and this lead position must be reinforced by tackling the challenges created by, firstly, greater global competition and a market demand that is continually changing and secondly, the need to ensure increased and more lasting sustainability,

D.  whereas tourism in Europe faces many challenges: the global economic crisis, the competitiveness of other destinations outside the EU and the diversity of tourist attractions on offer, the effects of climate change and seasonal fluctuations in tourist activity, demographic developments in Europe, the growing impact of information and communications technologies and many unforeseen events affecting the industry from time to time,

E.  whereas tourism contributes to promoting Europe and its cultural and linguistic heritage, while still respecting diversity, and to maintaining shared values and consolidating a sense of European identity, European belonging and European citizenship; whereas tourism development has a key role to play in enhancing the regional dimension within the EU,

F.   whereas Europe's diversity, multifacetedness and multiculturalism offer maximum growth for any form of thematic tourism, and the development and promotion of forms of diversified tourism may be the only effective response to the distortions, the problems and the deterioration to which the model of unregulated and undifferentiated mass tourism is leading,

G.   whereas, under the Lisbon Treaty (Article 195), tourism has become a specific competence of the EU, allowing the latter to support and complement actions within the Member States by encouraging the creation of an atmosphere that is conducive to developing tourism enterprises and fostering cooperation between Member States, while excluding any harmonisation of the legal and regulatory provisions of the Member States,

H.   whereas, on the basis of this new competence and in full compliance with the principle of subsidiarity, an EU strategy with clear and ambitious goals needs to be drawn up,

I.   whereas in order to ensure that the new competences and the future tourism policy of the EU have the effectiveness and visibility that European citizens and our visitors require, they will not only need a strategy and action plan but must also be adequately resourced in the EU's 2014-2020 financial programme,

J.   whereas the economies of the outermost regions and some island regions of the EU depend almost entirely on air transport in view of their extreme remoteness and isolated nature, calling for measures adapted to their dependence on that transport mode,

1.  Welcomes the policy strategy presented by the Commission, which sets out 21 specific actions to reinvigorate the sector; considers that this document and its implementation plan provide a solid basis from which to develop an EU policy on competitive, modern, high-quality, sustainable tourism that is accessible to all; encourages the Commission, in the context of the implementation plan, to set as soon as possible specific timetables for implementing the actions and achieving the targets; asks the Member States to cooperate by submitting programmes for each action in accordance with the competent national, regional or local authorities; calls on the Commission to focus on priority actions which are innovative and entail a European added value;

2.  Believes that the basis for the EU tourism strategy lies firstly in a package of specific measures solely concerning the tourism sector, and secondly, given the cross-cutting nature of tourism, in coordination with other related policy sectors in order to achieve a system which genuinely promotes tourism; considers, moreover, that a precise assessment is needed of how measures in other sectors impact tourism and calls for an integrated approach with a view to developing synergies both between the different sectoral policies and the various financing instruments;

3.  Deplores the lack of coherence within the Commission with regard to tourism policy; considers it essential that the Commission should arrange for a coordinating and integrating approach among the Directorates-General concerned;

4.  Stresses the need for close cooperation between the EU, international, national, regional and local authorities on the one hand and between the institutions as a whole and stakeholders in the sector on the other, with a view to addressing cross-cutting tourism-related issues, whilst respecting the principle of subsidiarity; recalls that in regard to tourism many European regions and municipalities have direct powers and therefore play a central role in implementing projects and specific actions; hopes, also in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy, to see regions and municipalities cooperate more closely with each other and play a sustainable, direct and effective part in developing the new tourism policy; believes that, for the same period, specific programming instruments such as strategies for macro-regions could enhance intra- and inter-regional tourism and foster the attractiveness and visibility of European regions and municipalities;

5.  Calls on the Commission to consider introducing two new principles for tourism: ‘interregionality’ and ‘complementarity’, in order to promote joint planning and cooperation between tourist services within a single geographical area, i.e. either between neighbouring regions belonging to different Member States or at a specific thematic level between regions linked by common elements;

Competitive, modern and good quality tourism

6.  Takes the view that tourism should be regarded as part and parcel of the EU's industrial policy and innovation policy and asserts once more that reinvigorating tourism is a strategic and vital objective for employment in the various Member States; stresses in this connection the importance of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which both contribute to innovation from below and stability in the sector and guarantee the quality, diversity and authenticity of the regions where they are rooted; encourages the Commission to promote this approach more in European tourism services;

7.  Calls on the Commission to collect and publish good tourism practices each year;

8.  Agrees with the Commission's proposal that a ‘Europe Brand’ should be developed in conjunction with the Member States, local and regional authorities and national tourism agencies, in order to promote Europe as a whole worldwide as a tourist destination; to this effect, calls on the Commission to launch publicity campaigns in cooperation with Member States and the competent tourism agencies; emphasises that any promotion initiatives should respect and highlight Europe's territorial diversity while avoiding favouring any European destinations over others, and takes the view that the ‘Europe Brand’ should not prevent the different regions, cities and local entities from being able to promote their own image freely;

9.  Welcomes the ‘European heritage label’ initiative as a tool giving prominence to some of the important sites in the history of European integration; stresses the need for coordination between this initiative and the UNESCO heritage sites and other historic routes; considers coordination with other comparable initiatives, such as the Europa Nostra Award, to be necessary in order to avoid overlapping; calls on the Commission to point out to Member States that sites which receive the ‘European heritage label’ must always remain open and accessible, with provision even being made for skeleton staff;

10.  Calls on the Commission to support the inclusion on the World Heritage List of popular traditions within the Member States, including culinary traditions, with a view to preserving them for future generations and establishing a European strategy for the promotion of popular traditions at European and international level;

11.  Calls on the Commission to assess the impact that the EU's European Capitals of Culture programme is having on tourism and to report to Parliament on whether governance approaches, funding arrangements and procedures for involving cultural bodies and associations should be reviewed, with a view to investing in durable and sustainable processes and partnerships;

12.  Stresses the importance of collaborating, for instance through partnerships or the conclusion of international air transport agreements, with non-EU countries, in particular neighbouring countries and the BRIC countries, which represent a market of several million potential new tourists; emphasises in this respect the importance of continuing efforts to increase the visibility, quality, competitiveness and diversification of the European tourism industry and calls for the development of joint European marketing activities and combined tourism products in order to attract visitors from these new source markets;

13.  Considers it advisable, while respecting the EU's rights and duty to control entry across its own borders, for the European institutions and the Member States to develop, in the context of the common visa policy, a long-term strategy for more coordinated and simplified visa procedures, with consideration given to establishing common consular desks/centres at EU level to ensure that visa procedures are implemented on time and bureaucratic costs reduced; to this end, further to the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS), calls on the Commission to consider the possibility of deploying the EU delegation offices in the world in order to issue tourist visas in collaboration with the national embassies of the Member States and to explore additional ways of simplifying the issue of tourist visas, such as ‘group tourist visas’ for organised groups and easier access for business travellers;

14.  Asks the Member States, in view of various emergency situations that place tourists abroad in danger, to consider, in close cooperation with the European External Action Service (EEAS), whether it would be appropriate to codify a uniform procedure for issuing notices advising against travel, creating a single European code for the seriousness of the situations concerned and acknowledging in worst-case scenarios the right of operators to apply for Community aid, within the limits of the funds available;

15.  Calls on the Commission to draw conclusions from recent emergencies, such as the volcanic eruption, and to draw up specific scenarios for EU crisis management, so that coordination and uniform action in all Member States with regard to information and the measures to be taken become the rule;

16.  Stresses the need to foster innovation and technological development in micro-enterprises and SMEs so that they may more effectively market their products and promote destinations; urges the Commission to create an ‘ICT and Tourism’ platform, launching a specific pilot project by the end of 2011 to boost the participation of micro-enterprises and SMEs in the digital supply chain, following on from the experience of other sectors such as textiles, transport and logistics and the automobile industry; calls for initiatives designed to promote e-commerce in the industry and eliminate remaining barriers to the development thereof within the internal market; calls on the Member States, moreover, to develop high-speed internet throughout their territory in order to enable advanced services to be developed and operators to become interoperable;

17.  Calls for the entrepreneurial spirit to be promoted and supported in the industry, giving special attention to women and young people, and for access to funding, especially to microloans, to be facilitated for SMEs and self-employed workers;

18.  Calls on the Commission to promote a specific innovation incubator for businesses in the tourism sector;

19.  Considers that the sustainability of the tourism sector will greatly benefit from a more coordinated approach to R&D and from promoting innovative products and services; underlines the fact that the development of the tourism industry is directly linked to promoting energy efficiency and renewable technologies;

20.  Urges the Commission to create a Virtual Tourism Monitoring Centre that links up not just research institutions, but also enterprises and public authorities, with the aim of driving forward market research through use of competitive intelligence systems, providing enterprises and public bodies with forward-looking information on the development of supply and demand and creating the conditions for improved strategic positioning of enterprises and the public sector;

21.  Calls on the Commission to assess, in close cooperation with Member States and national actors in the sector, what innovative actions they can take in order to promote ad hoc European holiday packages during major historic, cultural and sporting events that certain Member States will be hosting in the next few years, such as the Olympic Games, the Universal Expositions and others, with a view to promoting destination ‘Europe’ with all its rich diversity; takes the view that European and international events of different kinds should be promoted in conjunction with existing local tourist amenities;

22.  Believes that the potential of the European Travel Commission's (ETC) web portal www.visiteurope.com should be developed to maximise its availability and full accessibility (information in all EU official languages and the principal non-EU languages, with particular regard to the BRIC countries, use of formats accessible by the visually impaired and with information in sign language for the deaf, and use of all technological applications) and make it a genuine European tourism platform, with easy access to national, regional and local tourism portals in the individual Member States; believes, moreover, that the portal should give greater visibility to the European Quality Label system, as well as to best practices and to initiatives such as Calypso, NECSTouR and EDEN, and that it should inform tourists about their rights in different circumstances;

23.  Calls on the Commission to assess in conjunction with the Member States the possibility of creating a ‘European Tourism Card’ for the purpose of encouraging tourists from within and outside the EU who travel in Europe to do so regularly, by offering information including a list of their rights, discounts and dedicated services;

24.  Considers that the European Union is founded on cultural and linguistic diversity and that it is therefore important to promote access to tourist sites by providing visitors with tools for facilitating their visit and helping them to understand, such as audio guides or brochures offering explanations in at least two EU official languages, particularly where the sites visited are receiving structural funding;

25.  Calls on the Commission to assess, in cooperation with tourism stakeholders, the feasibility of a ‘European quality tourism label’, identifying common quality criteria; considers that this should come about by coordinating the best experience already gained in different Member States and by industry associations, in order to create an umbrella label complementary to national labels and recognised on an opt-in basis;

26.  Believes that a proliferation of labels must be avoided and that their number must be reduced, to prevent possible confusion on the part of consumers and excessive burdens on enterprises, and to make the labels more easily recognisable; calls on the Commission to assess existing labels in terms of their reliability, transparency and monitoring of compliance; calls furthermore on the Commission, Member States and stakeholders to promote existing instruments and best practices and to assess in the long term whether the ‘European quality label’ and the ‘Eco-label for tourist accommodation service’ could be gradually merged under the heading of one label, with sustainability as an essential criterion of quality;

27.  Asks the Commission to promote a specific initiative to harmonise gradually the accommodation classification systems (hotels, guesthouses, rented rooms, etc.) through the identification of common minimum criteria, starting from the positive experiences of industry associations (ex. Hotelstars Union) and representatives of the sector; considers that such gradual harmonisation could enhance both Europe's visibility as tourist destination and the information provided to tourists; calls on the European hospitality industry to:

   pursue its efforts towards a gradual harmonisation of hotel classification, taking into account accessibility criteria;
   cooperate with, and regularly inform, the Institutions of progress achieved;

28.  Stresses the importance of paying due attention to the question of safety in various types of accommodation, particularly in regard to fire safety regulations and carbon monoxide safety measures; takes the view, therefore, that incentives should be given for adherence to the MBS (Management, Building and System) method, without prejudice to national regulations in force, in line with the 1986 Council recommendations, or that alternative regulatory actions should be taken wherever self-regulation fails; highlights, furthermore, the important role of the training of hotel staff on emergency planning and fire safety management, and stresses the need for systematic collection of data on accommodation safety; underlines the importance of always bearing in mind the needs of people with disabilities and people with reduced mobility, including in terms of training on disability awareness in fire prevention and safety of accommodation;

29.  Considers that the Commission, in collaboration with the tourism industry and the social partners, should prepare a map of existing professional skills (Tourism Skill Competence Framework) as a starting point from which practical steps to match employment market supply and demand in the tourism sector in Europe can be developed;

30.  Calls on the Commission, in collaboration with the Member States, to encourage mobility and to exploit and promote lifelong learning, vocational and university training schemes and apprenticeships in the tourism sector, to maintain close contact with the world of research and business and to put more emphasis on innovation in tourism in the 8th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development; believes that Community programmes such as ‘Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs’ and ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ represent unique opportunities for acquiring professional and training skills, as well as enhancing career options, and should therefore be further developed and promoted, taking account also of the possibility of revising them so that they educate on best practices related to, among other things, customer care, accessibility and sustainability;

31.  Urges the Commission to monitor more precisely the implementation of the Services Directive in the Member States with regard to tourism;

32.  Asks for improved mutual recognition by the Member States of professional qualifications in the tourist industry, in order to allow those already working in the sector and those planning to do so to find the best job opportunities and to foster their mobility in the industry; believes that this would help tackle the problems of the seasonal nature of work in this sector, on the one hand, and undeclared work on the other;

33.  Emphasises the close link between tourism and transport and asks the Commission and the Member States to make every effort to modernise national, regional and cross-border infrastructure for the different modes of transport, with a particular focus on the progress and timely implementation of Trans-European Transport Networks projects and on the completion of the Single European Sky with a view to more efficient air traffic management; considers it important to encourage co-modality and adopt suitable measures to manage tourism flows, in particular during seasonal peaks and emergencies of different kinds;

34.  Urges the Commission to promote the use of more sustainable means of transport, for instance through the combination of public transport, rail, cycling and walking; calls on the Commission among other things to facilitate and support, including in the context of the Trans-European Transport Networks, the development of connections with islands, rural areas, mountainous areas, the outermost regions and, more generally, with less accessible destinations;

35.  Stresses the need to promote integrated electronic ticket sales systems for the various means of transport, which would stimulate the system's intermodality, facilitate international travel between Member States, guarantee freedom of movement and remove obstacles to the completion of the internal market; takes the view that during the development process there must be a focus on the special access requirements of people with disabilities;

36.  Welcomes the EU legislation on passenger rights, particularly with regard to passengers with reduced mobility, and asks the Commission to put forward, in the short term, an ambitious and consistent legislative framework with a set of common rules covering all transport modes combined with specific rules to take account of the particularities of each one;

37.  Calls on the Commission to assess the feasibility of a Charter of tourists' rights and responsibilities comprising principles with regard to accessibility, provision of information, transparent pricing, compensation, etc.; calls on Member States to set up an independent arbitration system so that consumers can also genuinely secure respect for these rights;

Sustainable and diversified tourism

38.  Underlines that tourism policy must consistently incorporate sustainable development: the social, economic and environmental needs of the present generations must be met without losing sight of the interests of future generations;

39.  Welcomes the Commission's readiness to diversify the types of tourism available, which would help offset the effects of seasonality; stresses, in particular, the importance of the collaboration already underway with the Council of Europe to promote cultural, historical, religious, environmental and landscape tourism by means of themed routes/itineraries which not only exploit our continent's historical and cultural roots, but also contribute to the development of an alternative style of tourism that is sustainable and accessible to all; believes that the use of sustainable means of transport, including cycling and sailing, should be encouraged in connection with a number of routes;

40.  Takes the view that in order to differentiate European tourism from that of other countries or continents, it is crucial to link the traditional tourism sector with what the territory has to offer in terms of products and services and tangible and intangible assets;

41.  Believes that the Commission and the Council of Europe, in close cooperation with the Member States and regional and local authorities, should continue to support, including by financial means, the development of new ‘European Routes’ and the maintenance of existing ones, including on islands and in coastal, mountainous and outermost regions; takes the view that these circuits should highlight the European identity, through the promotion and linkage of symbolic sites, such as cathedrals, castles, universities, archaeological sites and industrial settlements, as well as symbolic European figures and advocates; urges the Commission and the Member States to take all appropriate measures to safeguard Europe's heritage and assets for future generations;

42.  Encourages the Commission to facilitate networking and cooperation between EU regions in order to link up existing regional, national and European cycle routes and increase sustainable, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly cycling tourism in the EU;

43.  Stresses the importance of networks such as NECSTouR and EDEN in regard to the exchange of good practice between European regions and the promotion of sustainable destinations; insists furthermore on the need to create, in close collaboration with the Tourism Sustainability Group (TSG) and local and regional authorities, a system of common indicators for the sustainable management of tourist destinations;

44.  Takes the view that, given the history of the European continent, the Commission should promote more vigorously Europe's industrial heritage, whose potential has not been sufficiently recognised; emphasises that the development of Europe's industrial heritage, as a major area of cultural interest, could also benefit secondary destinations and contribute to achieving a more sustainable, diversified and evenly spread tourism sector in Europe, through the preservation, transformation and rehabilitation of the industrial sites;

45.  Takes the view that rural tourism and agritourism should be properly supported, being sectors that improve the quality of life, bring economic and income-source diversity to rural areas, create jobs in these regions, keep people there and thus prevent depopulation and establish a direct link with the promotion of traditional, ecological and natural food products; observes, in this respect, the importance of ensuring full access to the transport network and to the Internet and IT infrastructure in these areas; believes that this will help to achieve the objective of promoting new forms of tourism, extending the tourist seasons and redistributing tourism activities between areas of high tourism concentration and areas with strong but insufficiently exploited tourism potential;

46.  Considers that there is a need to improve farmers' marketing capacity and their access to local markets, thus enabling companies in the catering sector to buy the local produce they need more easily;

47.  Highlights the way in which nature tourism contributes to the sector's sustainable development; considers concentrating on natural resorts and protected areas in order to make them more accessible for tourists, including through the development of transnational circuits that respect the environmental heritage and local biodiversity, to be important;

48.  Points out that the development of new inland waterways can contribute to the sustainable development of cultural tourism, nature tourism and recreational tourism;

49.  Recalls that culture, education, youth and sports-related travel is becoming increasingly popular, and therefore calls on the Member States and local and regional authorities to support such forms of tourism by being more flexible and adapting to new types of consumer resulting from demographic change and in order to take into account new forms of tourism geared to the expectations voiced by consumers; draws attention to the major role which sport plays in promoting tourism, with both spectators and participants travelling to events, and calls for the introduction of specific policies to promote and support sports tourism;

50.  Calls on the Commission to promote a cross-cutting Community initiative on the environmental impact of tourism, with particular reference to European biodiversity, the waste cycle, energy and water saving, a healthy diet and the use of land and natural resources, in order to distribute information and useful materials, raise public awareness and reduce the impact of tourism on the environment;

51.  Welcomes voluntary industry efforts to understand and reduce the impact of tourism on the environment and on destinations, such as the partly EU-funded Travelife Sustainability System, an innovative scheme which helps consumers to make sustainable choices and industry to understand and manage its impacts in the supply chain;

52.  Encourages the Commission to support innovative initiatives of tourism SMEs and preserve and improve the wealth of biodiversity by promoting ecotourism;

53.  Calls on the Commission to examine the possibility of designating a European day of responsible and sustainable tourism, by organising in all Member States information meetings to promote forms of viable tourism and responsible behaviour by tourists;

54.  Underlines the great impact of climate change on Europe's tourist areas, especially the most vulnerable ones, notably coastal regions, islands and mountain regions; considers that strategies should be drawn up to prevent and counteract this, among other things by encouraging innovation and diversification in tourism services, enhancing natural risk prevention and mitigation policies, adapting infrastructures, anticipating the impact of water shortage and safeguarding the sustainability of the fauna, flora and landscape of the areas concerned;

55.  Points out that coastal regions represent the principal tourist destination in Europe and that it is therefore important to give due consideration to spatial planning methods in coastal areas, the risks of extensive urbanisation, the need to maintain the quality and sustainability of coastal areas, their heritage and tourist service infrastructure; stresses that adequate funds need to be invested in a coastal, island and marine tourism strategy in order to protect the European coastline from erosion, safeguard its environmental and animal heritage and improve water quality, all with the aim of developing sustainable and good-quality beach and underwater tourism; in this respect, welcomes the Commission initiative to develop a strategy for sustainable coastal and marine tourism, and calls for the development of similar specific strategies for the islands, mountain regions and other vulnerable areas;

56.  Reasserts the importance of beach tourism as a feature of some European coastal regions; calls on the Commission to examine whether the Directive 2006/123/EC is having a negative impact on SMEs in this sector and, if deemed necessary, to propose measures to alleviate this impact and ensure that the specific characteristics of this professional category are taken into account in the application of the Directive; calls, moreover, on the Member States to examine, in cooperation with the competent authorities, the introduction of compensatory measures to alleviate the damage inflicted on tourist operators by the introduction of new legislation resulting in the loss of acquired rights and losses linked to unamortized investments in refurbishing facilities or ensuring they conformed with the legislation previously in force; takes the view that these actions are required in order to safeguard investments made by operators and to improve the quality of customer services;

57.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support, under an integrated maritime policy, the development of port infrastructure, both with a view to adapting port terminals to the needs of persons with reduced mobility and in order to ensure interconnections with other modes of transport and links with tourist services in the hinterland, which are essential factors in maritime passenger transport, cruise ship tourism and recreational craft tourism; within this framework, calls on Member States to lift any restrictions they might have;

58.  Takes note of the fact that demographic developments in Europe will give rise to continuing growth in health tourism and in spa tourism in particular; calls on the Commission, in view of the fact that there are a variety of Community rules covering spa-tourism issues, to consider the possibility of tabling a single legislative proposal on spa tourism in order to give the sector a controlled organic structure, encouraging its competitiveness and specifying immediately that spa companies operating in the Member States, as providers of health services, are excluded from the scope of Directive 2006/123/EC; stresses the relevance of the new legislation on cross-border healthcare and considers that these must be enforced in strict compliance with the criteria and conditions imposed by the new legislative framework, in order to ensure fully satisfactory implementation;

59.  Emphasises the economic importance of ‘shopping tourism’; stresses that, for a large number of tourists, this form of tourism is one of the main reasons for holidaying in the EU, which is home to world-leading companies and brands in the luxury sector; notes that while this sector is growing rapidly, the EU faces strong competition from other international tourist destinations which offer, for example, facilities for tax-free shopping or reimbursement of VAT; recommends, therefore, in cooperation with the luxury sector and tourism professionals, working on new measures and services to enable the EU to retain its attractiveness and competitiveness;

60.  Stresses the need to promote European business tourism in the EU and the world, given its economic importance for certain places in Europe and the number of services linked to hosting and organising trade fairs, exhibitions, conferences and other business events (hotel and catering, shops, transport, communication and event-management agencies, etc.);

61.  Recalls that ethically responsible tourism is an objective that cannot be ignored; welcomes the code of ethics produced by the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and trusts that this will soon be adopted by the Commission and the Member States; is delighted in this regard to see the proposal by the Commission to extend the national jurisdiction of Member States to cover the sexual abuse of minors abroad, thereby punishing sexual tourism;

Tourism for all

62.  Emphasises that the inherently seasonal nature of tourism can give rise to precarity in terms of employment and working conditions; calls, in that connection, for the development of a specific policy to assist seasonal workers, involving, in particular, measures to extend tourist seasons by diversifying tourist activities;

63.  Calls on the Commission to draw up a plan to foster a progressive reduction in the seasonal nature of tourism; in this context, encourages the Commission to build on the results, so far positive, of the preparatory action ‘Calypso’ and invites the Commission and the Member States to continue with this action, allowing disadvantaged people, such as the elderly, people with disabilities, young people and low-income families to have easier access to holidays, particularly during the low season and when travelling across national borders; calls, in this connection, for physical accessibility, adequate services and reliable information to be further planned for and incorporated into tourism products; considers that inspiration can be drawn from numerous existing good practices which stress easy accessibility and empowerment;

64.  Stresses the importance of ensuring, under a new EU strategy on disability, access for people with disabilities, not just with regard to transport but also with regard to accommodation, catering, information accessible to everyone and tourist services in general; stresses that clear information should subsequently be provided about the measures taken; calls on the Commission to make sure that accessibility for all is guaranteed with regard to all products and services related to tourism;

65.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to encourage the implementation of programmes restoring, preserving and protecting sites of cultural, historical or environmental interest with a view to improving their accessibility to tourists; encourages young people to volunteer for these programmes in 2011, the European Year of Volunteering, and beyond;

66.  Calls on the Commission to promote also so-called VFR tourism (Visiting Friends and Relatives) as an important way of enhancing integration in European culture;

Tourism and resources

67.  Calls on the Commission to coordinate, extend and raise the profile of financial instruments managed by various directorates-general and intended to boost the competitiveness of tourism, and to check they are being correctly used, particularly with reference to the ERDF, the EAFRD, the ESF and the EFF; considers that in a context of budgetary restrictions it is essential to build synergies between the various existing financial instruments, which must be adapted to the changes in tourism and clientele, the diversification of tourism-related activities and the needs of local development; moreover, asks the Commission to develop clear signposting for the financial support available for tourism-related projects, as well as to set up a readily accessible inter-DG database to raise awareness and information about tourism projects co-financed by the EU;

68.  Emphasises that tourism should continue to play an important role in cohesion policy within the framework of the 2014-2020 financial perspective; calls for the next financial perspectives and Structural Fund regulations to include among their priorities the rehabilitation of tourist areas that have fallen into decline in order to guarantee their competitiveness and sustainability;

69.  Encourages, furthermore, the Member States and local and regional bodies to take full advantage of the vocational training tools offered by the ESF and other Community, national, regional and local funds; believes it essential that the Member States and other bodies know they should develop calls specifically for tourism based on the priorities set out in the Structural Funds;

70.  Asks that a specific tourism programme, targeting in particular micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, be established in the 2014-2020 financial perspectives, encouraging partnerships between firms and public-private partnerships on pan-European tourism projects, and at the same time encourages SMEs to invest in that sector;

71.  Insists on the need to ensure that pilot projects in the tourism sector continue to be supported post 2011, and if necessary to evaluate new ones to assist in the realisation of the new strategy;

Other important issues for the tourist sector

72.  Observes that tourism businesses need comparable, high-quality statistical data for purposes of long-term planning of supply and demand structures and in order to develop tourist destinations; calls therefore on the Commission, insofar as it lies within its power, to ensure that these data are available for the whole of Europe; deplores the fact that no official statistics are kept on rural and farm tourism, and that the only information available is based on estimates; welcomes the measures being contemplated to consolidate the social and economic knowledge base in the field of tourism, in respect of which additional financial outlay and red tape should be eschewed insofar as possible;

73.  Requests that the Commission table by September 2011 a legislative proposal revising the Package Travel Directive 90/314/EEC, in order to ensure that consumers and firms in the sector have a clear legal framework both for standard situations and for exceptional situations caused, for example, by certain climatic and natural phenomena, or by political troubles; stresses that the whole concept of package travel is long since outdated and urges the Commission, during its revision, to make the same legislation applicable to all parties offering tourism services; stresses that the quality of a service provided to a consumer and fair competition should be prime factors in this context;

74.  Highlights the opportunity this presents for a reduced VAT rate on tourism to be progressively harmonised across the Member States as a necessary condition for transparent competition among tourist companies within the EU and with non-EU countries; welcomes in this respect the discussion that started with the publication of the Green Paper on the future of VAT;

75.  Calls on the Member States to bear in mind the adverse effects of the growing tendency to subject tourists travelling to the EU or within the Member States to higher rates of taxes, such as fuel tax, security charges and airport, city and port taxes, in particular during the low season; underlines that if an additional tax on tourism is to be applied, it will have to be duly publicised in order to increase the level of awareness for tourists and operators;

76.  Calls on the Council of the European Union to speed up adoption of the proposal for a directive on modernisation of the special TOMS VAT scheme, providing for an opt-in mechanism able to wipe out the competitive distortion between various categories of operators in the sector, as disparities in national laws currently have serious consequences;

77.  Stresses the need for an active competition policy monitoring any trend towards concentration of the sector or abuse of a dominant position;

78.  Calls on the Commission to submit an integrated tourism strategy by the end of 2012, in line with and in addition to the current strategy and its implementation plan;

79.  Considers that a technical task force specifically for tourism should be set up in Parliament in order to follow closely the implementation of actions proposed by the Commission and of Parliament proposals;

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80.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 384, 31.12.1986, p. 60.
(2) OJ L 158, 23.6.1990, p. 59.
(3) OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 36.
(4) OJ L 116, 9.5.2009, p. 18.
(5) OJ L 198, 30.7.2009, p. 57.
(6) OJ L 27, 30.1.2010, p. 1.
(7) OJ C 193 E, 17.8.2006, p. 325.
(8) OJ C 297 E, 20.11.2008, p. 184.
(9) OJ C 45 E, 23.2.2010, p. 1.
(10) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0057.

Last updated: 7 January 2013Legal notice