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Single Market and Relevant Policies

Thursday, 04 May 2017


Tourism

Tourism is one of the newest EU policies instituted under Article 195 of the Treaty of Lisbon. It is an important economic sector in Europe, with 1.7 million enterprises employing over 9 million people and generating annual turnover of EUR 430 billion. Europe is the largest tourism region in the world, hosting 53 % of international tourist arrivals. In June 2010 the European Commission adopted the Communication, ‘Europe, the world's No. 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe’. This communication set out a new strategy and action plan for EU tourism. EU policy on tourism aims at maintaining Europe's standing as a leading destination while maximizing the industry's contribution to growth and employment and promoting cooperation between EU countries, particularly through the exchange of good practices. The EU's competence in this field is supplementary to the competence of member states.

Under the new Multi-Annual Financial Framework for 2014-2020, various EU funding Programmes, such us “COSME 2014-2020”, “Erasmus+” , “Horizon 2020”, “Creative Europe” and “Life 2014-2020” can finance specific actions related to the tourism sector (Detailed guide on EU funding, http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/newsroom/cf/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=8496)

The competitiveness of the European tourism industry is closely linked to its sustainability and the European Commission works on a number of initiatives in this area, including co-funding sustainable transnational tourism products, developing a European Tourism Indicators System for measuring sustainability performance (https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/tourism/offer/sustainable/indicators_en), creating the EU Ecolabel, a voluntary tool that is available to tourism accommodation services willing to prove and promote their environmental excellence, and EMAS registration, which allows actors in the tourism sector to improve their environmental performance and promote the quality of their services (http://susproc.jrc.ec.europa.eu/activities/emas/tourism.html).

Greece is a major European tourist destination for Europeans (mostly Germany, UK, FYROM, Bulgaria and France) but also from other continents (especially Asia, Russia Turkey and the USA). Tourism is considered the heavy industry of the country with major growth potential. The competitive advantages of the country relate to the rich cultural heritage (18 recognized UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites), the natural beauty, the geographical diversity, temperate climate, but also safety.

As regards Brexit, it is expected to have negative effects on Greek and European tourism in general, both due to the fall in pound sterling and because of the decline in tourist demand.



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