REPORT on the regional development aspects of the impact of tourism on coastal regions

    12.11.2008 - (2008/2132(INI))

    Committee on Regional Development
    Rapporteur: Jamila Madeira

    Procedure : 2008/2132(INI)
    Document stages in plenary
    Document selected :  


    on the regional development aspects of the impact of tourism on coastal regions


    The European Parliament,

    –   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the European Regional Development Fund[1],

    –   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1082/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on a European grouping of territorial cooperation (EGTC)[2],

    –   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 294/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2008 establishing the European Institute of Innovation and Technology[3],

    –   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 of 11 July 2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund[4],

    –   having regard to Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive)[5],

    –   having regard to Decision No 1982/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007 - 2013)[6],

    –   having regard to Commission proposal of 24 January 2007 for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on airport charges,

    –    having regard to the Commission communication of 27 September 2000 'Integrated coastal zone management: a strategy for Europe' (COM(2000)0547),

    –    having regard to the Commission communication of 19 October 2007 'Agenda for a sustainable and competitive European tourism' (COM(2007)0621),

    –    having regard to the Commission communication of 17 March 2006 'A renewed EU Tourism Policy: Towards a stronger partnership for European tourism' (COM(2006)0134), and to the resolution of Parliament of 29 November 2007 on that subject[7],

    –    having regard to the Commission communication of 10 October 2007 'An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union' (COM(2007)0575), and to the resolution of Parliament of 20 May 2008 on that subject[8],

    –    having regard to the Commission communication of 23 January 2008 '20 20 by 2020 - Europe's climate change opportunity' (COM(2008)0030),

    –   having regard to Commission Green Paper of 7 June 2006 'Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European vision for the oceans and seas' (COM(2006)0275),

    –    having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 14 December 2007,

    –    having regard to the Joint Tripartite Declaration of 20 May 2008 between Parliament, the Council and the Commission Establishing a 'European Maritime Day', to be celebrated on 20 May each year,

    –    having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

    –   having regard to the report of the Committee on Regional Development and the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A6‑0442/2008),

    A.  whereas the EU has six coastal macrozones, namely those corresponding to the Atlantic, the Baltic, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the North Sea and the outermost regions, each with its particular territorial resources and its specific concept of tourism,

    B.  whereas a significant part of the European population lives on the 89 000 km stretch of mainland European coast,

    C.  accepting the definition of 'coastal zones' employed in the context of the EU's maritime policy, i.e. zones or areas located on the coast or within 50 km from the coast in a straight line,

    D. whereas coastal regions are extremely important for the EU, since a significant percentage of economic activity is concentrated in them,

    E.  having regard to the definition of integrated coastal zone management and the role played by tourism in achieving that objective,

    F.  whereas the positive development of coastal regions benefits not only the people residing in coastal areas, but all people living in the EU,

    G.  whereas tourism, while typically the main activity in these regions, positively contributing to social and economic development in terms of increasing GDP and employment levels, can also have adverse territorial effects arising from the seasonal nature of activity, employment of unskilled labour, lack of integration between coast and hinterland, lack of economic diversification, or the degradation of the natural and cultural heritage,

    H. whereas there is practically no specific reference to the coastal zones in the various operational programmes for 2007-2013, and as a result there is a lack of comparable and reliable socio-economic and financial data for coastal tourism,

    I.    whereas, in the absence of reliable comparative data on coastal tourism, it is possible that this sector's economic strength is being underestimated, leading to undervaluation of the economic value of preserving the marine environment and overvaluation of the role of investment in achieving that goal,

    J.  whereas, because of a lack of information on the EU funds invested in the coastal zones it is difficult to make a quantitative assessment of the real impact of the Structural Funds on coastal tourism,

    K. whereas tourism is located at the intersection of various EU policies which substantially affect its capacity to contribute to social and territorial cohesion,

    L.  whereas, from a qualitative point of view, the Structural Funds can have a positive impact on the development of coastal regions, revitalising the local economies, stimulating private investment and promoting sustainable tourism,

    M. whereas there is a more visible impact in locations such as small islands in the outermost regions or coastal zones where coastal tourism is the main economic activity,

    N.  whereas coastal areas are strongly influenced by their geographical location, and require a structured strategy taking account of their specific characteristics and of the principle of subsidiarity and the need for a decision-making process that applies consistency between sectors,

    O. whereas, in addition, coastal regions are often also outlying regions such as small islands, outermost regions or tourism-dependent coastal areas whose accessibility is limited outside the high season, where territorial cohesion requires the creation of better infrastructures and more regular transport links between coast and interior, as well as the encouragement, via investment-generating strategies for territorial marketing and integrated economic development, of continued economic activity outside the tourist season,

    P.  whereas the coastal zones, despite having similar problems, do not possess specific instruments which would enable a structured approach and better communication among the main actors, who frequently work independently and in isolation from each other,

    Q. whereas integrated solutions to real problems can be found and implemented at local and regional level by the public authorities working in cooperation with the private sector and keeping in view both environmental and community interests,

    .R. whereas the creation of policy instruments will help contribute to more integrated and sustainable development strategies, improving economic competitiveness by preserving natural and cultural resources, meeting social needs and promoting models of ethical tourism,

    S.  whereas this could help create better jobs in the coastal zones, reducing the seasonal element and combining different forms of tourism and other maritime or coastal activities, thus adjusting the supply to the demanding expectations and requirements of modern-day tourists and permitting the generation of skilled employment,

    T.  whereas the European territorial cooperation objective laid down in Article 6 of the Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006, can make an effective contribution to the above priorities, via the funding of cooperation projects and the development of partnership networks between sectoral players and the coastal areas, stressing in this context the importance of utilising the European grouping of territorial cooperation (EGTC) provided for in Regulation (EC) No 1082/2006 as an instrument for creating ongoing cooperation in the field of the sustainable development of coastal regions, with the participation of local and social partners,

    1.   Stresses that tourism is a key factor for the social and economic development of the EU's coastal regions and is closely linked to the objectives of the Lisbon strategy; also emphasises that the objectives of Gothenburg Strategy should be more rigourously taken into account for coastal tourism activities;

    2.   Encourages coastal Member States to design specific strategies and integrated plans at national and regional level in order to counteract the seasonal nature of tourism in costal regions and ensure more stable employment and a better quality of life for local communities; emphasises, in this context, the importance of extending the traditional seasonal business to a year-round activity through product diversification and alternative forms of tourism (e.g. business, cultural, medical, sport, agricultural and sea-related tourism); notes that diversification of products and services will help create growth and employment and reduce environmental, economic and social effects;

    3.  Stresses the need to safeguard workers' rights in the sector, promoting quality jobs and the acquisition of skills, this entailing, inter alia, suitable training, more extensive use of long-term contracts, equitable and decent wages and better working conditions;

    4.   Calls for an integrated approach to coastal tourism in the context of the EU's cohesion, maritime, fisheries, environmental, transport, energy, social and health policies, in order to create synergies and avoid inconsistent actions; recommends that the Commission takes into account such an integrated approach to the sustainable growth of coastal tourism, especially in connection with the EU's maritime policy, as a strategic objective of its work programme for 2010-2015, and also in the context of the mid-term review of the financial framework for 2007-2013;

    5.   Calls on the Member States to ensure the full participation of the regional and local authorities responsible for tourism and regional development in coastal zones as well as of economic, social and environmental partners in all permanent structures set up under these policies, and in the cross-border cooperation programmes in which those regions are involved;

    6.   Highlights the fundamental link between a well-functioning infrastructure and a successful tourist region, and thus calls on the competent authorities to draw up plans for optimising local infrastructure, for the benefit of both tourists and local residents; in this light, strongly recommends that coastal Member States take all measures necessary to ensure that new projects improving infrastructure, including oil plants and other facilities, are always built using the latest available technologies, in order to ensure the reduction of energy use and carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency through the use of renewable energy sources;

    7.  Urges the Commission, the Member States and the regions to promote sustainable mobility chains involving local public transport, cycle tracks and footpaths, in particular along cross-border stretches of coastline, and to support the exchange of good practices;

    8.  Recommends that the Commission adopt a holistic approach to coastal tourism in the context of both its territorial cohesion and its strategy for an integrated maritime policy, in particular for the islands, the island Member States, the outermost regions and the other coastal zones, notably in view of the high dependence of these areas on tourism;

    9.   Strongly encourages the Commission and the Member States to include coastal tourism in the list of priorities within the strategic guidelines for the next programming period of the Structural Funds as well as among the policies of the EU's coastal regions and to define an innovative strategy able to integrate the coastal tourism offer;

    10. Welcomes therefore the participation of coastal regions in INTERREG IV B and C programmes and projects covering both transnational and interregional cooperation in the field of tourism and invites them to make effective use of EU initiatives and instruments for coastal regions (such as the Mediterranean and East Sea Strategies and the Black Sea Synergy); strongly recommends that the Commission place greater emphasis on coastal regions in the new INTERREG programmes for the next programming period;

    11. Takes note of the Committee of the Regions' view concerning the creation of a European coastal fund, and calls on the Commission, in the context of the next financial framework, to examine ways of better coordinating all future financial instruments that cover action in coastal regions;

    12. Recommends building up a knowledge pillar as part of the integrated development of the coastal zones, by creating a European sectoral network under the umbrella of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology provided for in Regulation (EC) No 294/2008 and the Seventh Framework Programme provided for in Decision No 1982/2006/EC;

    13. Recommends that the coastal Member States apply the integrated approach on the programme level when selecting and executing projects related to the coasts, adopting an intersectoral method and prioritising the creation of public-private partnerships, in order to reduce pressure on the local administrations concerned;

    14. Welcomes the priorities identified by the Commission for coastal and maritime tourism in the Agenda for a Sustainable and Competitive European Tourism; suggests that the recently-created European Tourist Destinations Portal could include specific information on coastal destinations and networks, especially those which are less well-known and less publicised, with a view to their promotion beyond the EU's borders, including at regional and local level;

    15. Calls on the Commission, in this connection, to recognise coastal and water tourism as an area of excellence for 2010 in the context of its pilot project European Destinations of Excellence;

    16. Laments the fact that the current lack of transparency as regards EU expenditure in the coastal zones makes it impossible to quantify the level of investment or to analyse the impact of the supported initiatives in those regions; in this context welcomes the above mentioned Green Paper on future maritime policy's provision to create a database for maritime regions that will include information on the beneficiaries of all Community funds (including the Structural Funds) and calls on the Commission to accomplish this important task without delay; stresses the importance of such an initiative for ensuring transparency in this field; calls on the Commission to activate suitable instruments for making these data available for analytic and statistical purposes and calls on the Member States to fulfil their obligations concerning the publication of the final beneficiaries thus providing a comprehensive picture of existing projects;

    17. Calls on the Commission, the Member States and the regions to draw up jointly an exhaustive catalogue, to be made available on the internet, of projects funded in the coastal zones, thus enabling the regions to learn from others' experience and permitting academia, the coastal communities and other interested parties to identify, publicise and maximise the transfer of best practices to the local communities; in this light recommends the setting up of a forum where interested parties can contact each other and share good practices and of a working group of representatives of Members States to develop action plans on coastal tourism and foster the exchange of experiences at institutional level;

    18. Invites the Commission also to use this internet catalogue to make the public aware of the benefits brought by the EU to the coastal regions, thus contributing to a more positive view of European funding and enhancing the Union's image;

    19. Calls on the Commission to ensure that the ongoing compilation by Eurostat of a socio-economic database for the EU's coastal regions includes data on tourism that is reliable, uniform and up-to-date, since this is essential in order to facilitate decision-making in the public sector and enable comparison between regions and sectors; recommends that the coastal Member States, as a matter of urgency, act to implement the Tourism Satellite Account in their territory;

    20. Stresses that there is a close link between the environment and coastal tourism; and that policies to develop tourism should include practical measures in line with a general policy of environment protection and management; welcomes, therefore, that sustainable development is enshrined in article 17 of the Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 (on Structural Funds 2007-2013) as one of the key principles applying to the implementation of all structural interventions whose application has to be duly verified through appropriate monitoring activities; strongly recommends that a similar provision be introduced in the Regulations for the next programming period; emphasises the important contribution this would make to fostering eco-tourism;

    21. Points out that coastal regions are particularly affected by the impact of climate change and the attendant rise in sea level and sand erosion, plus the increasing incidence and strength of storms; insists therefore that coastal regions devise climate change risk and prevention plans;

    22. Points to the impact of climate change on coastal tourism; therefore calls on the Commission on the one hand consistently to integrate the EU targets for reducing CO2 emissions into transport and tourism policy and, on the other hand, to promote measures to protect sustainable coastal tourism from the impact of climate change;

    23. Emphasises, in this context, the importance of assessing the potential of tourism to contribute to environmental protection and conservation; notes that tourism might offer an easy way to raise awareness of environmental values through the concerted action of national and regional authorities on the one hand and tourism operators and hotels and restaurants managers on the other; considers therefore, that costal regions should be targeted by such efforts, due to their pre-eminently touristic profile;

    24. Stresses the need, in developing tourism, of always ensuring the protection of historical features and archaeological treasures and the preservation of traditions and of cultural heritage in general, fostering the active involvement of local communities;

    25. Calls for incentives to be provided for sustainable development, so as to safeguard the cultural and natural heritage and the social fabric in coastal regions;

    26. Calls on the Commission to ensure that active execution in line with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive is a condition for receiving EU funding for coastal projects having an impact on the sea;

    27. Calls on the Commission to use all suitable evaluation instruments to ensure the implementation of this principle in the coastal zones during the present programming period, as well as the sharing of responsibilities between the different decision-making levels;

    28. Emphasises that pressure on coastal zones due to excessive physical infrastructure interventions is to the detriment of coastal tourism development and attractiveness, whereas those aspects could be fostered through high quality tourism services, essential for coastal regional competitiveness and the promotion of quality jobs and qualifications; invites, therefore, coastal regions instead to encourage alternative investments such as investments in ITC-based services, new potentials of local traditional products and high-quality training for workers of the tourism sector; calls, also, for the design of training programmes to create a pool of skilled workers, to deal with the increased complexity and variety of the tourism sector;

    29. Calls on the Member States to devise appropriate urban development and planning policies that are compatible with the coastal landscape;

    30.  Stresses that high quality represents the basic comparative advantage of the European tourism product; calls on the Member States and the regional and local authorities to highlight and strengthen the quality of tourism services in terms of the provision of security, ample and modern infrastructure, the corporate social responsibility of the enterprises involved, and environment-friendly economic activities;

    31. Calls on the Commission to ensure that its policy for maritime clusters includes productive services and sectors of relevance to coastal tourism, thus enabling fruitful interaction among those who use the sea as a resource to increase their competitiveness, sustainability and contribution to coastal economic development; considers, furthermore, that medical, welfare, educational, technological and sporting facilities should be included as coastal services under the maritime clusters, as key elements for the development of the coastal zones;

    32. Highlights the importance of accessibility for the development of coastal regions; calls therefore on the Commission, national and regional coastal authorities to develop ways to ensure an optimal connectivity via land, air and waterway transportation; reiterates its call on the same actors, in view of the high incidence of marine pollution in numerous regions and port cities, to boost incentives for the supply of vessels in port from the land network; invites Member States to analyse the possibility of adopting measures such as reducing airport taxes, always in accordance with the procedure laid down in the abovementioned proposal for a Directive on airport charges, in order to increase the attractiveness of and foster the competitiveness of coastal areas; for the same purpose, stresses the necessity of enhancing the respect of airport and aviation safety standards, including removal of fuel depots near airports, where necessary;

    33. Calls on the Member States and regional authorities to promote the upgrading of ports and airports in coastal and island regions in order to meet the needs of tourism, taking due account of the existing environmental possibilities and respect for aesthetic considerations and the natural surroundings;

    34. Stresses that territorial cohesion is a horizontal concept covering the EU as a whole, which can enhance the links between coast and hinterland by virtue of the existing complementarities of and mutual influence between coastal and inner areas (e.g. connection of coastal activities to rural and urban tourism, improvement of out-of-season accessibility for tourism, increasing the profile of local products while encouraging their diversification); notes that the abovementioned Green Paper on future maritime policy makes special reference to island regions, acknowledging that they face particular developmental challenges due to their permanent natural handicaps; emphasises that similar problems are faced by coastal regions in general and calls on the Commission to take account of the need to link coastal tourism to the integrated management of coastal zones and spatial planning for the seas in the future implementation of territorial cohesion;

    35. Urges the coastal regional and local authorities, similarly, to encourage integrated territorial marketing schemes alongside their partners in the context of sea-and-land based neighbourhood relations and to promote equity in tourism development and travel with a view to boosting competitiveness in the tourist sector without prejudice to overall competitiveness;

    36.   Encourages the coastal regions to take part in projects for interregional cooperation, e.g. under Theme IV of the initiative Regions for Economic Change, with the objective of creating new thematic coastal tourism networks and building on those already in place, as well as ensuring the exchange of know-how and best practice;

    37. Recommends that the public authorities concerned at national, regional and local level act to promote strategic projects for coastal tourism under their cooperation programmes, providing technical assistance for the preparation of projects, making available suitable levels of funding for such actions and prioritising the use of Structural Funds for developing sustainable, environmentally-friendly tourism in coastal regions, for both Convergence and Competitiveness and Employment areas; in this connection, special attention should be paid to operations aimed at developing communications and IT;

    38. Calls on the Commission to organise at least one special event within the next year, preferably on 20 May, European Maritime Day, focusing on coastal tourism, with a view to facilitating communication and fostering contacts between partners and sharing best practice, e.g. in the implementation of the EU's integrated quality management model; in this context encourages all actors to present their Community-funded projects directly or indirectly relating with coastal tourism;

    39. Considers that fostering nautical tourism, also through the promotion of sector-related economical activities can help citizens of the Union to develop more sustainable habits and higher ecological awareness; invites therefore Member States to encourage investments for this purpose in their coastal areas;

    40.   Calls on the Commission, in addition, to draw up a practical guide to EU financing in the area of coastal tourism, so as to orient the interested parties in the phase of seeking funds;

    41. Recognises the major potential contribution of increased cruise tourism to the development of coastal communities, provided a balance is struck between risks and responsibilities and between fixed costs for on-shore investments and flexibility for cruise operators, with environmental concerns being correctly met at the same time;

    42. Calls on the Commission to support coastal communities in acquiring best practices and in learning to maximise the return to the local communities of the value added generated by cruise tourism in particular and coastal tourism in general;

    43. Calls on the coastal regions to set up and support regional or local development agencies, which would help network professionals, institutions, experts and administrations within the same area and between Member States and would offer consultation and information to potential beneficiaries from both public and private sectors;

    44. Recommends that the coastal Member States take account of sustainability in the context of post-financing cooperation projects, not only in financial terms but also in relation to the continuity of cooperation between partners and interconnection with the relevant local services;

    45.   Recommends that the coastal Member States ensure high visibility for the projects selected and simplify the procedures for access to funding, with a view to attracting private financing for coastal tourism and facilitating the creation of partnerships between public authorities and private-sector players, especially SMEs; recommends the promotion of the recreational benefits of marine and costal tourism in the context of ensuring healthy flora and fauna (fostering ecotourism, fish tourism, whale watching, etc); believes that these objectives could be embodied in the European Maritime Day held each year on 20 May;

    46.   Calls on environmental groups, economic sectors linked to the sea, cultural organisations, the scientific community, civic entities and local residents to participate in all stages of the project, including its monitoring, with a view to its long-term sustainability;

    47.   Calls on the Commission, finally, to undertake a regular assessment of the extent to which Community funding in the coastal zones is impacting on their regional development, with a view to disseminating best practice and supporting partnership networks linking the different players by means of a monitoring centre for sustainable coastal tourism;

    48. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Committee of the Regions.


    General framework

    The EU's 27 Member States account for a grand total of more than 89 000 km of coastline. At the same time, this European coast comprises a highly divergent set of locations, ranging from big cities and Member State capitals such as Lisbon, Athens, Copenhagen or Stockholm to small islands living essentially from tourism and fisheries.

    The Union's maritime vocation, deeply rooted as it is in the histories and traditions of some of the Member States, underlies Europe's historic expansion to other continents, which brought prosperity in its wake and consolidated the role of the coastline in the development of the coastal states.

    In the case of some regions, their identity is bound up with that of their coastline; thus, the outermost regions live above all from tourism and from activities related to the sea. Other regions have, by contrast, coastlines whose geographical characteristics do not produce a dependence on tourism, or for whose GDP tourism is not of major importance.

    According to some projections, in 2010 approximately 75% of humanity will live in coastal regions. This concentration of population on the coastlines is in itself indicative of the need for a pragmatic approach to the impact of tourism on coastal zones and, even more so, on the European economy at national, regional and local levels.

    The EU and tourism

    Tourism is not at present one of the EU's political competences as such, but Article 3 of the EC Treaty states that it may be the subject of 'measures'. This has enabled the Union to implement a range of policies, programmes and actions in the field of tourism.

    Being fragmentary and sectoral in nature, this action by the Union has necessarily given rise to a number of problems, as reflected in a lack of coherence between the strategies followed in applying the various policies and a mixture of programmes and support measures for tourism which can end up adversely affecting one another, thanks to the lack of a guiding political thread for realisation of the goals proposed.

    It was agreed by the heads of state and government that the Treaty of Lisbon would include an article conferring more powers on the Union, and in particular on the EP, in the field of tourism policy. This would make it possible to devise new strategies for the effective and real execution of the existing funding, through the promotion of a full-fledged European tourism policy.

    The Structural Funds and tourism

    Given that the Union does not have powers as such in the field of tourism and that there are therefore no financial instruments devoted specifically to the sector, interventions in tourism policy at Community level are essentially channelled through the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund, via the regional operational programmes and the national sectoral operational programmes.

    It was decided by Parliament's Committee on Regional Development to authorise an own-initiative report and a study of the impact of tourism in the coastal zones (regional development aspects), the aim being to undertake a survey of the real application of the Structural Funds in the coastal tourism sector and the concrete impact of that sector on economic, social and territorial cohesion in all the Member States.

    The study drawn up for the committee was both detailed and significant. It concluded that among the main issues facing coastal tourism it is important to stress the seasonal factor, the need for measures to promote sustainable development, and the importance of diversifying leisure activities.

    This study recognises that major support is being given to actions in the field of coastal tourism by measures under the ROPs cofinanced by the ERDF, in areas such as public infrastructure, subsidies to tourist-sector SMEs, territorial marketing and promotional activities.

    It evokes the problems which, given the transversal nature of the tourism sector, affect the evaluation of these initiatives' repercussions at regional level. At the same time, it looks at the qualitative impact in terms of the reinforcement of institutional capacity. The authors state that EU funding has stimulated participation in partnerships, albeit to varying degrees depending on the project, as well as contributing to higher-quality project programming and conception. Equally, EU funding has made a major contribution to achieving a more integrated approach to quality management in the coastal regions.


    The consultation at ground level of the various players in the area of coastal tourism, which formed the basis of this own-initiative report, proved to be highly enriching, pointing up the need for concrete action to bring about the more effective application of the existing funds for the sector. There is no special need for new instruments: what is required is, rather, an integrated and coherent approach to the sector, dynamising the existing instruments in the context of a shared objective and a common strategy. There was a consensus on the need for an integrated and holistic approach to coastal tourism.

    The diversification of coastal tourism, moving away from notions of 'sun, sea and sand' in the direction of a more varied supply, is now a crucial challenge which needs to be supported. It is necessary to develop new segments of the regional coastal economy, while promoting the competitiveness and growth objectives of the Lisbon and Gothenburg strategies.

    Those sectoral policies, such as fisheries, maritime, transport, energy and cohesion policy, or, indeed, the new strategy for the CAP with its greater emphasis on quality products, which are in constant interaction with coastal tourist products, should, in the Commission's forthcoming work programme, be enriched by innovative features and should be placed, in an integrated fashion, at the service of coastal tourism, given that sector's major importance for the European economy. A holistic vision for this policy needs to become reality in the near future for the Union, notably in the context of the mid-term review of the financial framework for 2007-2013. This will enable us to ensure that the Union has a coastal tourism sector that is sustainable and forward-looking.

    OPINION of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (4.11.2008)

    for the Committee on Regional Development

    on the regional development aspects of the impact of tourism in coastal regions

    Rapporteur: Francesco Ferrari


    The Committee on Transport and Tourism calls on the Committee on Regional Development, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

    A. whereas the economies of most of the Member States with highly developed coastal and island regions depend to a great extent on revenues from activities connected with the sea or estuary and delta areas, such as tourism, fisheries, transport, etc. and whereas the marine and coastal environment are coming under increasing pressure from the various different purposes for which they are exploited; whereas, in particular, competition for space often generates conflict between the various activities and interests involved (tourism, fisheries, services, agriculture, protection of natural ecosystems), and it is therefore essential to ensure suitable forms of territorial management for administering the various activities directly or indirectly related to coastal development,

    B.  whereas, in regions where short, intense tourist seasons alternate with economically inactive periods, levels of employment in the sector concerned and in the transport sector are subject to strong fluctuations, which often makes it difficult to provide services on a stable basis and with a suitable level of quality,

    C. whereas tourism plays a role as a driver of economic growth, employment and new communication technologies,

    D. whereas coastal regions' tourism activities can only be accessible by means of modern and efficient transport infrastructures;

    E.  whereas coastal regions are extremely important for the European Union, since a significant percentage of economic activity is concentrated in them,

    1.  Considers that it is necessary to strengthen policies designed to reduce seasonality and encourage sustainable development, from the social, economic and environmental point of view, and product diversification and innovation, especially by means of 'business tourism', the creation of permanent jobs, continuing education, the improvement of qualifications and the diversification of services; considers, in particular, that it would be helpful to encourage, through the Structural Funds as well as by other means, the development of institutions, coordination between different levels of government, capacity strengthening and the principle of partnership when planning and developing projects such as exchange schemes for older tourists, health tourism, residential tourism and conference tourism;

    2.  Stresses the need, when developing and carrying out tourism and transport infrastructure projects, to respect the interests of nature conservation and the cultural heritage and hence of sustainable tourism;  

    3.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take more active measures to meet the needs of the private sector in small coastal municipalities and island regions, in particular, by promoting examples of best practice in relation to the planning, development and management of specific projects and initiatives and exchanges of information about the relevant European rules, strategies and funds, including in particular funds to support sustainable tourism;

    4.  Urges the Commission, the Member States and the regions to promote sustainable mobility chains involving local public transport, cycle tracks and footpaths, in particular along cross-border stretches of coastline, and to support the exchange of good practices;

    5.  Urges the Member States, the island regions and the coastal regions to encourage the transition from investing in physical infrastructure to activities designed to 'create a space' for territorial marketing and the diversification of products and services by activities which 'redefine' the relevant space; this objective could be achieved by:

         –   supplementing traditional pursuits and services with other sea-oriented recreational activities;

         –   integrating the existing transport means and the various tourist activities;

         –   promoting the cultural and natural heritage, for example by devising itineraries and ‘themed’ routes to introduce visitors to the regional heritage of the coastal hinterland (including the local gastronomy);

         –   transforming towns and villages with an industrial past into tourist destinations by promoting their specific architectural and cultural features;

         –   investing in projects’ visibility, image and results;

         –   adopting a global approach to the tourist market, to counter increasing competition from low-cost destinations outside Europe and promote programmes including, inter alia, those geared to new users in the EU, such as tourism for families or for older people;

         –   combining the development of tourist infrastructures with environmental protection and maritime safety measures, in particular savings and efficiency in the use of resources and sound, sustainable planning;

         –   setting up education and training schemes in the tourist sector, at all levels and in all fields (service provision, economics and administration), with a view to creating a core of qualified workers;

         –   promoting social tourism between European Union regions in the low season, as social or accessible tourism makes it possible for people with reduced mobility and disabilities to travel within the European Union as tourists, is an effective instrument for increasing the well-being of our European citizens and has an economic impact, since it generates and maintains jobs in the tourism sector throughout the year;

         –   analysing and promoting where appropriate actions for diversifying the supply of tourism services via the development of a specific mix, such as cultural tourism, sporting tourism, beach tourism, etc;

    6.  Calls on the Member States and regional authorities to make efforts with a view to the provision of more viable and stable services; calls on the Commission to study ways of countering the insufficient development of labour, capital and services resulting from the seasonal nature of employment in the tourism sector of coastal regions and in the associated transport sector;

    7.  Calls on the Member States to devise appropriate urban development and planning policies that are compatible with the coastal landscape:

    8.  Calls for incentives to be provided for sustainable development, so as to safeguard the cultural and natural heritage and the social fabric in coastal regions;

    9.  Points to the impact of climate change on coastal tourism; therefore calls on the Commission on the one hand consistently to integrate the EU targets for reducing CO2 emissions into transport and tourism policy, and on the other hand to promote measures to protect sustainable coastal tourism from the impact of climate change;

    10. Calls on the Member States and regional authorities to promote the upgrading of ports and airports in coastal and island regions in order to meet the needs of tourism, taking due account of the existing environmental possibilities and respect for aesthetic considerations and the natural surroundings;

    11. Reiterates its call for incentives so that alterations can be made to ports in many coastal regions enabling access for pleasure vessels and cruise liners, as well as work that will significantly improve the environment, including work to cope with climate change.


    Date adopted





    Result of final vote







    Members present for the final vote

    Etelka Barsi-Pataky, Michael Cramer, Luis de Grandes Pascual, Arūnas Degutis, Petr Duchoň, Saïd El Khadraoui, Emanuel Jardim Fernandes, Francesco Ferrari, Brigitte Fouré, Georg Jarzembowski, Stanisław Jałowiecki, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Sepp Kusstatscher, Jörg Leichtfried, Bogusław Liberadzki, Eva Lichtenberger, Luís Queiró, Reinhard Rack, Ulrike Rodust, Brian Simpson, Dirk Sterckx, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău, Yannick Vaugrenard, Armando Veneto, Lars Wohlin, Roberts Zīle

    Substitute(s) present for the final vote

    Philip Bradbourn, Lily Jacobs, Anne E. Jensen, Antonio López-Istúriz White, Vural Öger, Willem Schuth


    Date adopted





    Result of final vote







    Members present for the final vote

    Emmanouil Angelakas, Stavros Arnaoutakis, Rolf Berend, Victor Boştinaru, Wolfgang Bulfon, Antonio De Blasio, Bairbre de Brún, Gerardo Galeote, Iratxe García Pérez, Eugenijus Gentvilas, Monica Giuntini, Ambroise Guellec, Pedro Guerreiro, Gábor Harangozó, Marian Harkin, Mieczysław Edmund Janowski, Gisela Kallenbach, Evgeni Kirilov, Miloš Koterec, Constanze Angela Krehl, Florencio Luque Aguilar, Jamila Madeira, Yiannakis Matsis, Miroslav Mikolášik, James Nicholson, Jan Olbrycht, Maria Petre, Pierre Pribetich, Giovanni Robusti, Elisabeth Schroedter, Grażyna Staniszewska, Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Lambert van Nistelrooij, Oldřich Vlasák

    Substitute(s) present for the final vote

    Domenico Antonio Basile, Emanuel Jardim Fernandes, Francesco Ferrari, Eleonora Lo Curto, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, Flaviu Călin Rus, Iuliu Winkler