The Conference of Tourism Ministers will be held in Dijon on 17-18 March 2022. It will be chaired by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister Delegate for Tourism, alongside Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market. Together, we share common initiatives, with the aim of achieving recovery in the sector, increasing tourism of Europeans in Europe and transitioning to a more sustainable model.
Tourism is a driver of the European economy, showcasing our values and cultural and natural heritage. Both leisure and business tourism have been among the sectors hardest hit by the COVID crisis, and could suffer further repercussions due to the war in Ukraine. After two years dominated by the pandemic, with the end of the COVID-19 crisis now on the horizon, Europe must rebuild a resilient, sustainable tourism industry, in line with the expectations of European tourists.
The French Presidency of the Council of the European Union proposes promoting European initiatives contributing to shift the tourism sector towards a greener, more inclusive and more digital model. This conference will be an opportunity to discuss with European partners the best practices implemented by Member States while demonstrating the importance of action at EU level in order to support and transform the sector, by encouraging intra-European tourism and promoting destination Europe within Europe and beyond. The discussions will help create shared areas of work in order to draw up a 2030 Agenda for tourism in Europe.
18 March will begin with a greeting for delegations at the Palais des ducs et des Etats de Bourgogne, the centre of Dijon’s political and cultural life.
The first round table will focus on the tourism of Europeans in Europe. Firstly, the European Commission, the World Tourism Organization and the World Travel & Tourism Council will set out their vision for the recovery of international tourism and the opportunities provided by increased tourism of Europeans in Europe. At the end, the tourism ministers and Mr Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, will discuss the work carried out by the European Commission as part of the transition and transformation of the sector and will identify the best practices from each Member State to promote intra-European tourism and sustainable tourism.
The second round table will enable discussions on the tools to be mobilized to make Europe the global destination for sustainable tourism. The Presidency will mainly address this issue from the perspective of transforming the industry and promoting sustainable transport.
The discussions to be held during the Conference of Tourism Ministers will follow on from those conducted over two years ago. Since the start of the crisis, tourism has been the focus of special attention at European level. European cooperation and coordination was strengthened in order to support this sector, which accounts for almost 10% of European GDP. The European tourism ministers have held regular meetings and the EU-level work carried out since March 2020 has helped to:
- facilitate increased mobility: on 13 May 2020, the European Commission published the “Tourism and Transport” package, proposing a shared and coordinated approach for the gradual return to mobility within the European Union. Subsequently, on 13 October 2020, Member States adopted a Council recommendation on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement. This recommendation helped adopt a system of mapping and common criteria on whether to introduce travel restrictions. Furthermore, in order to facilitate travel, the Commission created the Re-open.eu platform, providing information on health measures and travel conditions in force in each Member State. Finally, on 14 June 2021, the European Parliament and Council adopted the regulation on the EU Digital COVID Certificate. This certificate harmonizes and creates interoperability among documents providing proof of vaccination, recovery or screening required by Member States, depending on their national policy. In addition, the “OpenUpToEurope” promotional campaign by the European Travel Commission was launched to make Europe a more attractive destination;
- increase support for companies: during the crisis, the tourism sector benefitted from European economic-support mechanisms, including the State Aid Temporary Framework, the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and Investment Initiative Plus (CRII+), the temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE) programme and the Next Generation EU fund. Eligible tourism stakeholders can also receive aid under the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027, particularly EU funds managed by the regions. In order to facilitate the process for companies, in May 2021 the Commission published a guide on available financing for the tourism sector;
- start the digital and sustainable transformation of the sector: the European Commission began discussions on the sustainable transformation of the sector on 12 October 2020, as part of the European Convention on Tourism, with the aim of drawing up a roadmap for tourism for 2030. Following consultations with tourism industry representatives, the Commission drew up a working document entitled, “Scenarios towards co-creation of transition pathway for tourism for a more resilient, innovative and sustainable ecosystem”, which should be a guide to drawing up a 2030 Agenda for tourism in Europe. This publication also follows the adoption of conclusions on sustainable tourism (“conclusions on tourism in Europe for the next decade: sustainable, resilient, digital, global and social”) by EU Member States during the Competitiveness Council meeting on 27 May 2021.
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