Tourism is a key sector of the European economy. It comprises a wide variety of products and destinations and involves many different stakeholders, both public and private, with areas of competence very decentralised, often at regional and local levels.
The EU tourism industry generates more than 5% of the EU GDP, with about 1,8 million enterprises employing around 5,2% of the total labour force (approximately 9,7 million jobs). When related sectors are taken into account, the estimated contribution of tourism to GDP creation is much higher: tourism indirectly generates more than 10% of the European Union's GDP and provides about 12% of the labour force.
The Lisbon Treaty acknowledges the importance of tourism outlining a specific competence for the European Union in this field and allowing for decisions to be taken by qualified majority. A specific article on tourism specifies that “the Union shall complement the action of the Member States in the tourism sector, in particular by promoting the competitiveness of Union undertakings in that sector”.
Co-operation in Tourism
The need to enhance the understanding and visibility of tourism being a wide and multisectoral phenomenon, requires a strong cooperation with other organisations, public administrations, destinations, stakeholders, academic world, etc.
The Commission is already collaborating with the different services. Given that at present the Community has no direct tourism competence, a number of areas in other European policies have a considerable and even growing impact on tourism. As an example, a number of actions in the fields of sport, education, vocational training, youth, culture, consumers, regional policy, etc. are supported through other EU programmes.
To provide a source of information and support on implementation of EU programmes at national and regional level the Commission Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) was set up. EEN is a network specifically designed for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) but also available to all businesses, research centres and Universities across Europe, made up of close to 600 partner organisations in more than 40 countries that offers support and advice to businesses across Europe.
Calypso - Social Tourism
European Destinations of Excellence
Action for Sustainable Tourism
Visit Malta – The Official Tourism site for Malta, Gozo and Comino