Tourism is a major economic activity in the European Union with wide-ranging impact on economic growth, employment, and social development. It can be a powerful tool in fighting economic decline and unemployment. Nevertheless the tourism sector faces a series of challenges. The European Commission works to address these with policies and actions.
EU policy aims to maintain Europe's standing as a leading tourist destination while maximising the industry's contribution to growth and employment. It also promotes cooperation between EU countries, particularly through the exchange of good practice. The EU's competence in the tourism sector is one of support and coordination the actions of member countries.
The European Commission works on a number of initiatives to diversify and improve the range of tourism products and services available in areas such as sustainable tourism, accessible tourism, tourism for seniors, and low-season tourism.
To maintain Europe’s position as a leading tourist destination, the quality of its services needs to be continuously improved. The European Commission is involved in initiatives that improve the mobility and skills of workers - particularly IT skills - and help tourism entrepreneurs to manage their businesses.
The European Commission has developed the Virtual Tourism Observatory. The Observatory is a portal that gathers information and analysis on performance and trends in the sector. It allows policy-makers and others in the industry to develop better strategies.
To enhance the visibility of Europe as a tourist destination and increase tourism to the EU, the Commission is implementing a wide range of communication and promotion activities. It is also taking measures to make it easier to travel to Europe.
EDEN is an initiative that promotes sustainable tourism in a bi-annual format. It's based on national competitions that culminate in the selection of a 'destination of excellence' for every country that takes part.
Due to the intensity of global tourism competition, the Commission works with non-EU countries and international organisations to boost tourism to Europe.
The Commission holds a number of conferences and other events for tourism stakeholders related to key issues facing the tourism industry.