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Promoting Europe internationally

Encouraging more tourists from outside Europe requires facilitating their travel, promoting destinations  and working in close cooperation with public administrations, destinations and all stakeholders.

Simplification of the visa procedure

Package on simplification of visas rules

In order to stimulate the European economy and to facilitate the lives of travellers towards the EU, the European Commission proposed on 1 April 2014 important changes in the visa rules. 

The "package" consists of:

Press release

Read more about the Common Visa Policy

Commission Communication: Implementation and development of the common visa policy to spur growth in the EU - COM(2012) 649 final 07/11/2012

In this Communication, the Commission examines how a fully-fledged implementation of the current Visa Code and possible developments of the EU common visa policy could spur growth in the EU by facilitating travel opportunities for legitimate third country nationals.
Read more

The economic impact of short stay visa facilitation on the tourism industry

In 2013, the European Commission published a study evaluating how the common visa provisions are implemented in the Schengen area from the tourism industry/travellers' viewpoint and the corresponding economic impact on the tourism industry.

The study shows that, in 2012, a total of 6.6 million potential travellers from the six target markets analysed were “lost” due to the difficulties linked to visa application. It concludes that visa facilitation would clearly benefit the tourism sector and the economies of the Schengen area with an increase in spending and the creation of additional jobs in the sector.

The study also suggests possible solutions to identified problems, indicates good practices and makes policy recommendations based on the evidence collected.

Study on the economic impact of short stay visa facilitation on the tourism industry and on the overall economies of EU Member States being part of the Schengen Area pdf - 3 MB [3 MB]
Executive summary pdf - 178 KB [178 KB] español (es) français (fr) italiano (it)
Annex II - Mapping of visa practice pdf - 295 KB [295 KB]
Annex X tables pdf - 237 KB [237 KB]

Europe – Whenever you're ready

The Commission's (First) International Tourism Communication Campaign

The communication campaign, running from 2012 to 2014, aimed at encouraging international tourists to discover or rediscover Europe.

With contributions from well-known travel writers, journalists, and bloggers, the campaign highlighted Europe's diverse cultural and natural heritage and showcased the wide variety of unique opportunities that Europe has to offer to international tourists. Contributors’ first-hand experiences, spread through videos, blogs, magazines and websites, unlocked the not-to-be missed sights as well as the ‘roads less travelled’ of a number of a wide range of European destinations.

Watch the campaign video


The Commission cooperates with:

  • European organisations (such as the European Travel Commission)
  • international organisations such as:
  • non-EU countries, such as China.
  • European governments, the tourism industry and airlines – in the 50 000 tourists initiative to develop tourist flow between South America and the EU (using spare airline and accommodation capacity during low season).

European Travel Commission (ETC)

This is the European federation of 33 national tourism bodies. The Commission cooperates with the ETC and helps fund its activities, which include:

  • promoting tourism in Europe – both among Europeans and also from long-haul non-European markets
  • producing and sharing market research and innovative (digital) marketing tools
  • offering a forum for knowledge-sharing and best practice
  • giving tourists better information.

In 2011 both organisations signed a Joint Declaration and the European Commission is cofinancing promotional activities implemented by ETC.

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