Procedure : 2020/2649(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0177/2020

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 17/06/2020 - 30
CRE 17/06/2020 - 30

Votes :

Texts adopted :


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<TitreSuite>to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>

<Titre>on transport and tourism</Titre>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Anna Deparnay‑Grunenberg, Tilly Metz</Depute>

<Commission>{Verts/ALE}on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group</Commission>


See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0166/2020


European Parliament resolution on transport and tourism


The European Parliament,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas tourism is a cross-cutting economic activity with a wide-ranging impact on many different sectors, sustainable development, employment, social development and a sustainable economy;

B. whereas the tourism sector employs 22.6 million people (11.2 % of total EU employment), contributed 9.5 % to EU GDP in 2019, helps to balance regional inequalities and often has a positive impact on regional development;

C. whereas tourism consists of a complex value chain of many stakeholders with a direct link to passenger transport activities;

D. whereas tourism, and especially overtourism, also has a negative impact on climate change, is estimated to contribute 8 % of CO2 emission and has negative environmental and economic impacts such as increased pollution, loss of biodiversity, congestion, infrastructure maintenance costs and rising prices, as documented in the TRAN study entitled ‘Overtourism: impact and possible policy responses’[1];

E. whereas the transport and tourism sectors have been the most severely affected of all the major economic sectors by COVID-19;

F. whereas, by adopting the Communication on ‘Tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond’ and the Tourism and Transport Package on 13 May 2020, the Commission took the first necessary step to support the recovery of our valuable transport and tourism ecosystems from the COVID-19 outbreak by highlighting the need to use the recovery wisely in order to develop more robust sustainability in the sector;

G. whereas it has been a very long time since the Commission adopted the Communication, ‘Europe, the world’s No. 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe’ in June 2010, setting out a new strategy and action plan for EU tourism, including the need for its implementation;

H. whereas, since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, the EU has been conferred supporting competences aimed at coordinating and complementing action in this domain vis-a-vis the Member States[2];

European tourism and transport recovery plans following the COVID-19 outbreak

1. Believes that swift short-term support to the transport and tourism sectors is necessary to ensure their survival, while implementing measures which give tourists the confidence to travel again to and within Europe and securing a recovery that embeds ‘sustainability’ robustly as a requirement for all transport and tourism activity, which is imperative for the longer-term development of the sector; stresses that the current crisis also represents a historic opportunity to modernise tourism in the EU and make it more sustainable, the starting point being to consider it as a proper industrial ecosystem with its need to streamline sustainability initiatives, environmental standards, transport choices, sustainable investment targets, technological innovation needs and sustainable performance indicators which should take into account better ecological and social standards such as the quality of jobs created and the quality of life for local residents;

2. Welcomes the ‘COVID-19 - Towards a phased and coordinated approach for restoring freedom of movement and lifting internal border controls’ communication adopted by the Commission as part of the package, and the proposal for a phased and coordinated approach aimed at returning to the unrestricted free movement of persons; calls for the EU to support the ‘restart of tourism’ with a recommendation to highlight ‘sustainable tourism’ and to make credibly certified businesses and destinations frontrunners for environmentally friendly, socially responsible and economically sound travel and tourism;

3. Reiterates the importance of the principle of non-discrimination in the progressive lifting of domestic and cross-border restrictions, as well as the mutual recognition of the agreed measures at EU level, and stresses the paramount importance of avoiding bilateral agreements between individual Member States (so-called tourist corridors), in order to safeguard the integrity of the single market and the freedom of movement; stresses that the implementation of containment measures, as well as their easing, must at no time lead to a reduction of the high levels of EU safety standards and needs to take into account science-based advice that also rebuilds trust and facilitates the safe opening of the tourism sector after the lockdown measures; urges the Commission to prevent the implementation of any type of discriminatory and non-epidemiological measures by Member States, which only undermine the integrity of the Schengen area;

4. Calls for uniform assessment criteria to be established throughout the Union and considers it necessary to promote EU standards that certify and distinguish territories presenting safe and sustainable offers for visitors which prove to comply with both epidemiological and environmentally sustainable conditions;

5. Welcomes the Commission Communication on ‘COVID-19: Guidelines on the progressive restoration of transport services and connectivity’ as well as the guidance based on a framework of principles and a common toolbox that will help resume safe and sustainable transport services of all kinds across the EU by taking coordinated, non-discriminatory and proportionate measures;

6. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to agree on temporary, proportionate and non-discriminatory measures that are clearly linked to the COVID-19 outbreak but do not require quarantine restrictions, based on scientific evidence and a robust risk assessment, following international standards defined by credible sources, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC);

7. Welcomes the Commission Communication on ‘COVID-19: EU Guidance for the progressive resumption of tourism services and for health protocols in hospitality establishments’ and urges Member States to share this guidance with competent authorities at regional and local level; calls, in this regard, on the Commission and the Member States to support the travel and tourism sector financially in the implementation of these measures, in full cooperation with the travel and tourism industry and also, in particular, while adhering to the ambitions of the European Green Deal;

8. Calls on the Commission to consider the creation of an EU safety certification scheme for tourism and travel establishments and operators, in cooperation with Member States’ public authorities, tourism stakeholders and international organisations, with the aim of facilitating the implementation of specific requirements based on the EU guidance and enhancing confidence and safety for travellers who visit our Member States;

9. Calls on the Commission to insist on the voluntary nature of vouchers issued in relation to COVID-19 and on the need for an obligation for companies to reimburse travellers and visitors as currently provided for by EU law, in order to prevent another patchwork implementation resulting in different treatment of consumers and in distortions of competition in the transport and tourism market; further urges the Commission to use all the means at its disposal to ensure the proper enforcement and uniform application of EU law and to promote the use of harmonised rules on voluntary vouchers;

10. Calls on the Commission, Member State public authorities and stakeholders to cooperate in order to establish appropriate and common preparedness plans for a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections as soon as possible, addressing infection prevention and control measures for the travel and tourism sector;

11. Calls on the Commission to launch a dedicated EU Communication Campaign on Travel and Tourism aimed at promoting intra-EU travel, re-establishing citizens’ confidence in travel and tourism during COVID-19, educating tourists on the health and safety measures in place and ensuring the robust implementation of sustainability criteria ensuring the development of sustainable, responsible and accessible EU tourism destinations, as well as developing ‘local tourism’;

Enhanced solidarity and coordination in the EU tourism sector

12. Highlights the importance of moving towards a genuine European tourism policy that will significantly contribute to enhancing the sustainability of the Union in this sector, promoting cooperation between Member States and creating possibilities for further sustainable investments and innovations to foster the ecological transition of the sector, as well as creating and supporting local and fair jobs;

13. Welcomes the Commission proposal to organise a European tourism summit involving the EU institutions, the industry, regions, cities and stakeholders, in order to reflect on the European tourism sector of tomorrow, and supports the development of a 2050 roadmap towards a sustainable, innovative and resilient European tourism ecosystem (‘European Agenda for Tourism 2050’) with specific regard to supporting biodiversity and protecting landscapes;

14. Welcomes the Commission’s initiative providing for flexibility under the State aid rules; insists, however, on the need for social and ecological standards as well as for clear and sector-specific guidance in the transport and tourism sectors to allow effective coordination between all Member States, and to ensure that national compensation schemes are used in a uniform manner and are put in place for a limited duration, in a timely and proportionate manner, with the aim of tackling the losses caused by the COVID-19 outbreak without unduly distorting competition;

15. Welcomes the proposal for an EU Recovery plan presented by the Commission on 27 May 2020, which includes a reinforced long-term EU budget (MFF 2021-2027) and a new recovery instrument of 750 billion euros which should be conditional on respecting ecological and social standards;

16. Calls on the Commission to accord due importance to the tourism sector in the recovery package and to issue guidance to ensure swift and fair access to funding under ongoing and upcoming programmes;

17. Reiterates its call for the establishment of a dedicated budget line for sustainable tourism in the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF 2021-2027), and points out that there is not a concrete and targeted financial instrument in order to help to boost prosperity and the fight against climate change in the sector;

18. Calls on the Commission and Member States to urgently support businesses, especially SMEs, to help them to manage their liquidity problems, to maintain jobs and services and to reduce the environmental impact of tourism; welcomes in this respect the Commission’s new SURE initiative aimed at covering the costs of national short-time work schemes, allowing companies to safeguard jobs and maintain cash reserves;

19. Calls for a European horizontal strategy for SME recovery to support them with the costs of access to finance, and by fostering investments in strategic value chains in line with the Green Deal; recalls the need for making the necessary adjustments in order to comply with new health and safety measures, providing substantial investments to ensure the safety of consumers and the respect of social distancing, and other relevant precautionary measures;

20. Highlights the importance of enhanced cooperation between EU, national, regional and local authorities and all relevant stakeholders, with a view to addressing cross-cutting tourism-related issues; calls, in this regard, on the Commission to establish an EU Sustainable Tourism Strategy that includes a clear action plan with short-, medium- and long-term objectives, including the UN sustainability goals, with the proposal that the Members States set clear strategic and operational result-oriented objectives which prioritise environmental sustainability and quality of life and well-being in local communities;

21. Calls on the Commission to issue guidelines based on best practice in the tourism sector in the event of both the pandemic crisis and the ecological crisis, to ensure proper financial support and to facilitate the development and coordination of adequate online platforms where stakeholders can exchange best practice and share information;

Towards a future-proof sustainable EU tourism sector:

22. Stresses that the tourism sector is highly dependent on the transport sector, and that therefore improving accessibility and connectivity first and foremost for sustainable transport, while maintaining the highest level of safety in all transport sectors (including walking and cycling), would certainly have a significant impact on enhancing the EU tourism sector; emphasises, in this regard, that in the context of 2021 being the European Year of Rail and the need to reduce transport emissions, the Commission should promote night trains as a sustainable alternative mode of travel;

23. Insists that the tourism sector needs to play its part in reducing the consumption of fossil fuels and meeting the ambitions of the European Green Deal, or better still in aiming for a 65 % reduction of GHG by 2030 at the latest and in becoming climate neutral by 2040;

24. Highlights the need to foster sustainable ways of travel such as providing increased support to tourist cycling infrastructure and night trains; stresses the economic and environmental benefits that sustainable transport modes such as cycling can have for tourism, and calls on the Commission to promote and invest in cycling infrastructure to facilitate such tourism; notes that ‘low cost’ air travel that is made possible by lower social and environmental standards can promote short-stay tourism, which increases the carbon footprint of tourism;

25. Highlights the necessity for all Member States to have a network of developed, modern, safe and sustainable infrastructure, in order to facilitate travel across the EU and to make the peripheral Member States more accessible for intra-European and international tourism; calls therefore on the Commission to support the reinstatement of abandoned or disused regional cross-border rail connections [3], to continue carrying out fitness checks on the existing infrastructure network, and to propose immediate additional measures for the least advanced and remote areas that often have the least well-developed networks and need particular attention; points out that while border regions throughout the EU make up 40 % of the EU’s territory and a third of its population[4], they face the doubly difficult situation of often being rural in character and lying on the periphery, even though they can be among the most attractive destinations for tourists; calls on Member States to ensure that appropriate planning is in place to complete the entire TEN-T core and comprehensive networks by 2030 and 2050 respectively, indicating the schedule and budgetary availability and whether changes are needed to ensure respect for the ‘do no harm’ principle, with a particular focus on cross-border sections, especially in Member States that are not progressing in these areas; emphasises that such a fitness check must also assess whether these projects respect the ‘do no harm’ principle which the Commission has placed at the core of its recovery package[5] and, if not, appropriate changes should be proposed;

26. Calls on the Commission to maintain its monitoring framework including intermediate targets and its ‘use it or lose it’ strategy to assess progress made by Member States, to follow a systematic and uniform approach with fixed deadlines for Member States to provide feedback data on completed segments, and to take appropriate measures in the revision of the TEN-T regulation to enhance long-term maintenance planning by Member States;

27. Calls on the Commission to explore the feasibility and potential benefits of a crisis-management mechanism for the EU tourism sector, in order to respond adequately and swiftly to future dangerous viral outbreaks and pandemics; stresses the importance of including funding solutions for short-term financial shortages and also of providing for medium- and long-term frameworks and strategies to be activated;

28. Recalls the importance of developing further the capacity to support and complement Member State action in times of crisis, in order to protect workers, help out companies and ensure that passenger rights are adhered to and passenger safety lies at the heart of the measures; further underscores the necessity to work in close cooperation with all relevant stakeholders, in order to address all the specificities and aspects of the relevant transport and tourism sectors;

29. Points out the importance of having a common EU approach on safeguarding and improving the communication strategy vis-a-vis citizens which also emphasises the ecological stakes and sustainable alternatives; further emphasises the EU’s coordination role for the tourism sector, which should be improved by taking EU added value actions and further facilitating the exchange of best practice among Member States; calls for reductions in administrative and fiscal burdens, support for the creation of businesses, and the promotion of accessibility for everyone, including people with disabilities, cross-border sales and service provision;

30. Considers that the emergence of new technologies and the further digitalisation would considerably boost the attractiveness of the travel and tourism sector, and user-friendly platforms and new business models would enhance the sustainability potential of the sector; believes, therefore, that regular training and reskilling of the existing workforce in the sector seem to be of the utmost importance, with a specific focus on sustainability, digital skills and innovative technologies;

31. Points out the importance of promoting sustainable tourism, contributing to job creation, protection and restoration of natural ecosystems, growth and competitiveness, by building on new business models which break with overtourism and its destructive impact; calls on the Commission to facilitate access to EU funding for tourism stakeholders involved in the development of innovative, smart and sustainable, high-quality tourist products and services, and to further contribute to accessibility for everyone (including people with disabilities), sustainability, de-seasonality and the geographical dispersion of tourist flows; believes that support and coordination at Union level must be provided to improve tourism administration on the national, regional and local levels, inter alia by introducing tourism sustainability certification[6]; believes also that financial flows should be stopped to detrimental tourism sectors that apply unsustainable practices, such as maxi-cruise boats, or endanger highly sensitive environmental areas;

32. Points out in respect to sustainable tourism labelling that it is vital to promote local-level initiatives, such as campaigns promoting quality and sustainability labelling, as well as accessibility and support for businesses in gaining certification; calls on the Commission to support such campaigns; calls also for the EU institutions to require the contracting of certified tourism businesses in EU procurement and project funding;

33. Highlights the importance of tourism for certain EU countries and geographical areas that are often the most affected by climate change, but where tourism-related services are also often a vital factor in securing employment and are one of the main sources of income for the local population; calls on the Commission to draw up tailor-made measures when restoring freedom of movement and transport links between the outermost territories and islands and the EU mainland; points out that specific connection lanes and additional financial and administrative support are of the utmost importance for these regions; stresses the importance of developing a coastal and maritime focus in the EU tourism strategy and initiatives, including financing opportunities and promotional and communication tools, as well as strengthening the functioning of relevant markets, by establishing custom-made policies in cooperation with destination stakeholders and authorities;

34. Recalls that cultural tourism accounts for 40 % of all European tourism, calls on the Commission, therefore, to propose that the Member States set clear strategic and operational sustainability- and result-oriented objectives in the next Work Plan for Culture, and to improve the current strategic framework for culture; stresses that investments in cultural sites should be seen and treated as a resource to improve the circular economy based on natural and cultural heritage and synergies with local handcrafts, farming etc., without forgetting their intrinsic value as part of our cultural heritage that needs to be protected, especially from climate change and over-tourism;

35. Highlights the benefits of rural and agro-ecological tourism, as well as well-managed tourism in protected areas, and calls on the Commission to further promote and support initiatives which would generate additional income sources for rural areas and job opportunities, prevent depopulation and increase the social benefits; stresses the role that the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) can play, especially the LEADER programme, in supporting local and rural tourism initiatives, and calls for this programme to be adequately funded for the 2021-2027 programming period;

36. Points out the importance of health tourism, comprising medical, wellness and spa tourism; calls on the Commission to promote, when appropriate, European health prevention, balneology, sustainable and mountain medical tourism; highlights the need for further investment in improving the sustainable tourism infrastructure, and the importance of enhanced visibility for European resorts for spa and wellness tourism; calls on the Commission to make provision for further science-based funding opportunities, as medical tourism may help to reduce health costs through prevention measures and lower pharmaceutical consumption, and would further improve sustainability and labour quality;

37. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the President of the Commission, the President of the European Council and the Presidency-in-Office of the Council.



[2] Article 195 (1) TFEU - ‘The Union shall complement the actions of the Member States in the tourism sector, in particular by promoting the competitiveness of Union undertakings in that sector’

[3] DG REGIO Report ‘Comprehensive analysis of the existing cross-border rail transport connections and missing links on the internal EU borders’



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