press release
Published: 12 October 2020

European Commission contracts Surrey staff to manage stakeholder consultation for the European Tourism Convention

Prof Xavier Font and alumni Dr Mireia Guix were contracted by the European Commission to design, manage and report on three parallel thematic workshops with over 100 experts to propose a set of actions for a roadmap towards a sustainable, innovative and resilient European tourism.

The European Tourism Convention (12 October 2020) launched a dialogue among stakeholders on the recovery and strategic orientations for the European tourism of tomorrow; to guide future work and cooperation on tourism towards a European Agenda for Tourism 2050. The three virtual and parallel workshops organised by the Surrey team gathered representatives of the EU institutions, high-level representatives of EU national and regional public authorities, representatives of European sectorial associations and the tourism and travel industry, international organisations, academics, NGOs as well as other relevant stakeholders. The selection of up to 35 participants per workshop was based on participation in the published call of expression for interest that received over 200 applications. The workshops mapped key issues and generated a discussion about the challenges and opportunities of the EU tourism in relation to (i) Safe and seamless tourism experience; (ii) Greener holidays and, (iii) Tourism powered by data.

Ensuring a ‘Safe and Seamless Tourism Experience’ has become paramount to recover EU tourism and its future resilience. The workshop’s discussion was held against the background of the European Commission’s policy efforts (EU travel facilitation measures, the European Green Deal, the EU Digital Strategy, EU data policy, Next Generation EU). The workshop participants identified key issues, as emerging and future trends to tackle three main challenges: 1) to improve seamless travel for a secure and smooth flow of travellers, 2) to improve safe and seamless tourism experiences at destinations, for the benefit of tourists and residents, and 3) to strengthen cooperation and coordination to improve seamless and safe tourism.

The workshop 'Greener Holidays' discussed sustainability challenges for tourism  in line with the communication on Tourism and Transport in 2020 and beyond and wider European Commission’s proposals of the European Green Deal, the European Climate Pact, the European industrial strategy, Circular economy action plan, Sustainable and smart mobility strategy and, the EU Recovery Plan. Participants proposed actions 1) to accelerate the decarbonisation towards climate-neutrality by 2050, 2) to implement climate change mitigation and adaptation measures for more resilient business and destinations, and 3) to encourage new business models through innovation for sustainable development and a circular tourism economy.

Discussions in the workshop ‘Tourism Powered by Data’ gathered stakeholders embrace the opportunities for a digital transformation of EU tourism, supported by the EU Digital Strategy and the EU Recovery Plan. The pre-consultation identified challenges for data management, the availability of public sector data by businesses, the use of privately-held data by tourism destinations, and the sharing of data between public authorities at different levels. Stakeholders discussed how 1) to strengthen the European strategy on data and digitalisation of EU Tourism, 2) to progress on tourism data set integration and data sharing, 3) to steer innovation for the digital transformation of tourism capitalising on data and new technologies.

The challenges were identified from a pre-consultation with workshop applicants in the call for expression of interest.

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