Procedure : 2020/2649(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0184/2020

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>José Ramón Bauzá Díaz</Depute>

<Commission>{Renew}on behalf of the Renew 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 economic growth, employment and social development;

B. whereas the tourism sector employs 22.6 million people, equating to 11.2 % of total EU employment, and contributed 9.5 % to EU GDP in 2019, promotes a balanced regional structure, and 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 the transport, culture and tourism sectors have been the most negatively affected of all major economic sectors by COVID-19, with large scale unemployment affecting, in particular, seasonal workers and those in vulnerable situations;

E. whereas cultural sites and venues, festivals and museums have been particularly badly hit by the health crisis, while 4 out of 10 tourists choose their destination based on what it has to offer by way of culture;

F. whereas by adopting the communication on tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond (COM(2020)0550) 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 sectors from the COVID-19 outbreak;

G. whereas it has been ten years since the Commission adopted the communication entitled ‘Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe’ (COM(2010)0352) in June 2010, which set out a strategy and action plan for EU tourism;

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 to and within Europe again is imperative for minimising additional losses in the sector, as well as for its longer-term sustainability; stresses that the current crisis also represents a historic opportunity to modernise tourism in the EU and make it more sustainable and accessible for persons with disabilities, and to start considering it as an industrial ecosystem with investment targets, human capital, technological innovation needs and performance indicators;

2. Welcomes the communication entitled ‘COVID-19 – Towards a phased and coordinated approach for restoring freedom of movement and lifting internal border controls’ adopted by the Commission as part of the package, and the proposal for a phased and coordinated approach, aiming at returning to the unrestricted free movement of persons;

3. Reiterates the importance of the principle of non-discrimination in the progressive lifting of domestic and cross-border restrictions, and stresses the importance of avoiding agreements between individual Member States (so-called tourist corridors); is concerned about the fact that several Member States have recently imposed unilateral measures which not only might undermine the functioning of the single market and have a negative impact on the lives of millions of EU citizens, but also strike a further blow against tourism and confidence; urges, therefore, the Commission to prevent the implementation of any type of discriminatory and non-epidemiological measures by Member States, which call into question the integrity of the Schengen area and impede the swift recovery of Europe’s travel and tourism industry;

4. Stresses the need for the support and promotion of tourism areas in the EU through, among other things, attractive offers for visitors, provided that the epidemiological and socio-health conditions in the respective areas allow this; believes it is essential that all health, hygiene and sanitary requirements, such as social distancing measures, are fully respected and implemented by both businesses and their clients, in order to guarantee safe conditions for visitors; calls for uniform assessment criteria to be established throughout the EU in order to highlight the areas that represent safe environments for inbound and outbound tourism;

5. Recognises the importance of international travellers to our tourism sector; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States to gradually lift the restrictions on non-essential travel applied at the external borders of the EU ahead of the 2020 summer season, without hampering public health and safety, taking into account the epidemiological situation in each respective third country and working towards the mutual recognition of COVID-19 protective measures, especially in aviation, following International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and European Union Aviation Safety Agency ( EASA) standards;

6. Stresses the importance of cross-border and seasonal workers for the provision of services in the tourism sector as a key component of the economic recovery effort, and calls for measures aimed at encouraging their mobility and protecting their labour rights, including better implementation of existing legislation;

7. Urges the Commission to address the problems encountered by cross-border and seasonal workers in acquiring their social entitlements, which emanate from the lack of portability of entitlements for workers in the tourism sector, through the swift adoption of the revision to the Social Security Coordination Regulation and the implementation of coordinated digital solutions at Member State level, while enhancing and streamlining solutions to combat fraud of any kind; calls for investment in the digital and linguistic skills of professionals, in digital vocational training and digital upskilling and lifelong learning schemes for workers in the sector, the promotion of sustainable packages and the development of offers that emphasise the assets that the European ‘quality tourism’ label aims to promote;

8. 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 with the resumption of transport services of all kinds across the EU by taking coordinated, non-discriminatory and proportionate measures;

9. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to agree on temporary and proportionate measures, which are in line with scientific evidence, to facilitate safe transit and country-to-country movements, based on a robust risk assessment and following international standards defined by bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC); highlights the importance of ensuring mutual recognition of the measures agreed at EU level for the resumption of EU and international travel; stresses, moreover, 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 and security standards in transport; calls, furthermore, on the Commission, in coordination with the Member States, to explore the feasibility and added value of health screening measures such as diagnostic tests (e.g. serological or swab tests) and temperature checks on passengers departing from transport hubs;

10. 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;

11. 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 encouraging the implementation of specific measures based on the EU guidance and enhancing confidence and safety for travellers who visit our Member States;

12. Calls on the Commission to propose common EU rules on the terms and conditions of the vouchers issued due to COVID-19, always conditional on their voluntary acceptance by consumers, and without affecting the obligation for companies to reimburse travellers within the timeframe provided for by EU law, in order to make vouchers more attractive and viable, and to prevent another patchwork implementation resulting in different treatment of consumers and in distortions of competition in the transport and tourism market; urges, moreover, 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;

13. Calls on the Commission to launch a dedicated EU Communication Campaign on Travel and Tourism, aiming 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 building sustainable and cohesion values through an ‘EU Tourism Brand’; calls for the concept of ‘safe and smart destination’ to be central to ensuring the development of sustainable, responsible and accessible tourism; 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;

Enhanced solidarity and coordination in the EU tourism sector

14. Recalls that tourism is of considerable importance as a source of economic growth, regional development and employment, and that, since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, supporting competences have been conferred on the EU, aiming at complementing action in this domain in coordination with the Member States[1];

15. Highlights the importance of moving towards a genuine European tourism policy that will significantly contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of the Union in this sector, promoting cooperation between Member States and regions and creating possibilities for further investments and innovations in the sector; recalls the importance of reducing gold plating in legislation on the single market for tourism services, with the objective of removing and preventing regulatory contradictions and duplications, by ensuring better coordination of policies and legislation affecting the tourism sector;

16. 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 of tomorrow, and supports the development of a 2050 roadmap towards a sustainable, innovative and resilient European tourism ecosystem (‘European Agenda for Tourism 2050’); calls on the Commission, therefore, to adopt a new strategy and action plan for EU tourism in 2021 based on the outcome of this dialogue, in order to maintain Europe’s standing as a leading destination through an ‘EU Tourism Brand’;

17. Welcomes the Commission’s initiative providing for flexibility under the State aid rules; insists, however, on 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 fair, timely and proportionate manner, and are put in place for a limited duration, aiming to tackle the losses caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, without unduly distorting competition; 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 on the Commission, in this regard, to establish an EU Tourism Strategy, including a clear action plan with short-, medium- and long-term objectives, which proposes that Member States set clear, strategic and results-oriented objectives;

18. Welcomes the financial relief provided by the Commission to save jobs through the temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE), as well as further partnerships between employment services, the social partners and companies to facilitate reskilling, especially for seasonal workers in all types of job in the tourism industry;

19. Stresses that the proposal for an EU recovery plan presented by the Commission on 27 May 2020 serves as a good basis for further negotiations; welcomes the recognition of tourism as one of the economic activities worst affected by the COVID-19 crisis, as well as the proposed investment of EUR 161 billion in the tourism sector; calls, furthermore, on the Commission to give due importance to the tourism sector in the recovery package and to issue guidance to ensure swift access to funding without hindrance from disproportionate administrative burdens under both the ongoing and upcoming programmes; highlights, in this context, the importance of investments in this sector through the Recovery and Resilience Facility which will allow the development of a strategy for a sustainable, flexible and competitive tourism sector across the EU; reiterates its call for the establishment of a dedicated budget line for sustainable tourism in the next multiannual financial framework (MFF 2021-2027), and regrets the current lack of a concrete and targeted financial instrument in order to help to boost prosperity and growth in the sector;

20. Calls on the Commission and Member States to urgently support businesses in the transport, culture and tourism sectors, especially SMEs, in managing their liquidity, to help them to maintain jobs, and to reduce unnecessary administrative burdens; calls for a revised European SME strategy that takes into account the impact of COVID-19 on SMEs and puts forward concrete initiatives to help them in their recovery by reducing red tape, cutting the costs of access to finance and by fostering investments in strategic value chains, in line with a European industrial policy based on ecosystems and 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; emphasises the importance of creating networks and clusters across the EU, which have the potential to lead to the harmonisation of best practices, strategies and synergies within the SME sector;

Towards a future-proof EU tourism sector

21. Stresses that the tourism sector is highly dependent on the transport sector, and that therefore improving the accessibility and connectivity of all modes of transport, while maintaining the highest level of safety in all transport sectors (road, rail, aviation, maritime and inland waterways), would have a significant impact on enhancing the EU tourism sector;

22. Highlights the necessity for all Member States to have a network of developed, modern and safe 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 on the Commission, therefore, to carry out fitness checks of the existing infrastructure network, and to propose immediate additional measures in the least advanced areas, to ensure that Member States have appropriate planning to complete the entire TEN-T core by 2030 and comprehensive networks by 2050, indicating the schedule and budgetary availability, and to focus particularly on cross-border sections, especially in Member States which are not progressing in these areas;

23. 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 not only to the current COVID-19 outbreak, but also in order to prepare for future challenges of a similar nature and magnitude; stresses the importance of including funding solutions for short-term financial shortages and also providing for medium- and long-term frameworks and strategies; calls on the Commission to issue guidelines based on best practice in the tourism sector in the event of large-scale crises such as the current pandemic and to facilitate the development and coordination of adequate online platforms where stakeholders can exchange best practice and share information;

24. Points out the importance of a common EU approach on safeguarding the competitiveness of the sector by improving its communication strategy towards citizens; 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 cross-border sales and services;

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

26. Invites the Commission to evaluate the possibility of establishing an online visa application process, while at the same time maintaining the strong protection of the European borders, as a means of attracting an increased flow of international tourists to Europe; notes that the outbreak of COVID-19 has revealed the necessity of embracing innovation and of re-conceptualising the delivery of services, including those that allow for enhanced people-to-people contacts; invites the Commission, therefore, to examine and evaluate the opportunities for remote, low-cost and time-efficient e-visa access to Europe’s tourist destinations for bona fide third-country nationals who require visas and whose biometric data would be collected in any event once the Entry-Exit System has become fully operational;

27. Points out the importance of promoting sustainable tourism, contributing to job creation, the protection and restoration of natural ecosystems and to growth and competitiveness, by building on new business models; calls on the Commission to facilitate access to EU funding for tourism stakeholders; affirms that such funding should support the development of sustainable, innovative and high-quality tourism products and services, and further contribute to sustainability, out of season travel and the geographical dispersion of tourism flows; believes that support and coordination at Union level must be provided to improve tourism administration at national, regional and local level, inter alia by introducing tourism sustainability certification; stresses the importance of promoting a shift from mass tourism to other forms of cultural and sustainable tourism which respect our environment and our cultural heritage;

28. Highlights the importance of tourism for certain countries and geographical areas of the EU, where tourism-related services are often an important 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 regions 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; recalls the importance of supporting family businesses which develop local or regional markets and promote local tourism, since they account for a significant proportion of European private-sector employment and constitute the natural incubators of an entrepreneurial culture;

29. 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 results-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 competitiveness and growth at local level, without forgetting their intrinsic value as part of our cultural heritage that needs to be protected, especially from climate change and mass tourism; asks the Commission to find alternative support mechanisms for the cultural workers who are heavily dependent on functional tourism;

30. Highlights the benefits of rural tourism and calls on the Commission to further promote and support initiatives which would generate additional income sources for rural areas, create 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; considers it necessary to reinforce agri-tourism in rural areas in order to diversify the sources of farmers’ revenues, particularly for smallholdings, and thereby prevent land abandonment, depopulation and support the rural economy; stresses, in this regard, the need to ring-fence a specific allocation for agri-tourism, which plays an essential role in the diversification of farmers’ revenues and in the development of rural areas;

31. 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;



° °

32. 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.

[1] Article 195 paragraph 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’.

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