"With today's call for proposals we are shining a light on Europe's rich maritime heritage, from museums to monuments. By encouraging tourist authorities to team up with the cultural and creative industries, this call will create new tourist offers, making Europe's coastal regions an even more attractive holiday destination", Commissioner Vella said.
Commissioner Vella also used his opening speech to stress the role of innovation in keeping Europe's maritime and coastal tourism competitive and attractive.
"Tourism is changing. Holidaymakers are increasingly looking for more than traditional 'sun, sand and sea' package. So innovation is indispensable to keep you – and Europe – in business. And we also need innovation to keep our air, landscapes and waters clean. Because Europe's natural treasures are some of our greatest tourism assets. So going green is not just good for the environment. It's good for business," he said.
Coastal tourism is the most popular type of tourism in Europe. Two out of three European tourists prefer to spend their holidays on the coast, and nearly half of all nights spent in EU tourist accommodation are spent in coastal areas. Together with cruise tourism, yachting and marinas, coastal tourism in the EU provides almost 3 million jobs and generates revenue of 400 billion euros.
The Commission is supporting maritime and coastal tourism by funding new ideas, fostering dialogue, and promoting Europe as a maritime destination, in line with its 2014 'European Strategy for more Growth and Jobs in Coastal and Maritime Tourism'.
Its 'Guide on Funding for Coastal and Maritime Tourism', developed in early 2016, gives a helpful overview of available EU funding.
Today's call for proposals follows a call for the creation of underwater cultural routes earlier this year.