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12th European Tourism Forum (2013): ‘Tourism – A Force for Economic Growth, Social Change and Welfare’

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European tourism needs visa facilitation measures, initiatives to extend the tourism season and new sources of funding. These are the main messages from the European Tourism Forum that took place on 17-18 October 2013 in Vilnius, Lithuania.

European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani said: "I count on the support and the efforts of all tourism ministers to raise awareness among their respective governments about the importance of achieving full harmonization of the visa provisions and the need to attract more visitors from emerging economies."

The topic of the Forum ‘Tourism – A Force for Economic Growth, Social Change and Welfare’ allowed to take stock of the implementation of the European Commission’s Communication ‘Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe’, to discuss about the impact of tourism on the EU economy and about international tourism development trends, to look more closely at tourism support possibilities under the new financial period 2014-2020, and to debate about one of the priorities of the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council – the Baltic Sea Region Strategy.

European Tourism Ministers met for an informal debate prior to the 12th European Tourism Forum, to discuss three important initiatives aimed at ensuring job creation and economic prosperity in this sector:

  • simplifying short-stay visa processing to attract more tourists from emerging economies;
  • strengthening senior tourism which can boost occupancy in low and medium seasons;
  • aligning future tourism initiatives with the priorities set in the new European financial period 2014-2020 to ensure funding and boost growth and competitiveness in this sector.

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