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Boosting international tourism in Europe

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Boosting international tourism in Europe



European Commission communication (COM(2010) 352 final) — Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination — a new political framework for tourism in Europe


  • To maintain Europe’s position as the world’s top tourist destination, the European Commission put forward a series of suggestions for coordinated actions at European Union (EU) level.
  • These are designed to increase the tourism sector’s competitiveness and capacity for sustainable growth and delivering quality.


  • Tourism plays an important role in the EU’s economy. 1.8 million businesses are involved, many of them small-scale. The sector accounts for 5.2 % of EU employment and contributes to over 5 % of EU gross domestic product.
  • EU tourism faces a number of challenges and opportunities which need a concerted approach:
    • increasing competition from other destinations;
    • demographic trends mean that the EU increasingly has more aged tourists and needs to adapt its tourism products and infrastructure accordingly;
    • tourism products also need to be more sustainable, taking into account commitments related to climate change and dependence on water and energy;
    • information and communication technologies offer new opportunities that need to be tapped.

New agenda for action

In line with the ‘Europe 2020’ growth strategy, the agenda for EU-level action in favour of tourism, set out in the 2010 communication, focuses on 4 priorities:

  • 1.

    Competitiveness in the European tourism sector by:

    • boosting innovation in tourism by, for example, helping it to adapt to market developments in the field of information and communication technology and innovation (e.g. digital tourism);
    • improving professional skills in the sector by promoting opportunities offered by various EU programmes, such as in the areas of lifelong learning in the Erasmus+ programme or the COSME programme for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
    • addressing the seasonal nature of demand by, for example, encouraging voluntary tourism exchanges between EU countries, especially during the low season;
    • promoting diversification in tourist services in particular by better focusing on and promoting the EU's common heritage, as well as by integrating ‘natural’ heritage into tourism strategies;
    • consolidating socio-economic data on tourism at EU level.
  • 2.

    Development of sustainable, responsible and high-quality tourism by:

    • developing a system of indicators for the sustainable management of destinations; this could be with a view to developing a label for promoting sustainable tourist destinations;
    • organising awareness-raising campaigns better informing tourists about destinations;
    • exploring the potential of a ‘Quality Tourism’ label, to reward improvements that increase consumer safety and trust;
    • facilitating the identification of climate change risks to protect the European tourism industry from making the wrong investments and encouraging it to explore alternative tourism services;
    • proposing a charter for sustainable and responsible tourism;
    • proposing a strategy for sustainable coastal and marine tourism;
    • establishing or strengthening the EU’s cooperation with emerging economies and with Mediterranean countries to promote sustainable and responsible tourism development models and the exchange of best practices.
  • 3.

    Consolidating the EU's image and visibility as a set of sustainable and high-quality destinations by:

    • supporting the creation of a ‘Europe brand’, in close cooperation with EU countries, complementing their promotional efforts, so as to enable European destinations to better stand out when compared to other international tourist destinations;
    • promoting Europe as a sustainable and high-quality tourist destination through the ‘’ website, at major international events or large-scale tourism fairs and exhibitions, as well as initiatives such as European Tourism Days and the European Tourism Forum;
    • strengthening EU participation in international bodies.


Article 195 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union grants the EU the power to support, coordinate and complement EU countries’ actions in the tourism sector.

For more information, see also:


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination — a new political framework for tourism in Europe (COM(2010) 352 final, 30.6.2010)

last update 05.09.2016