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ISSUE 3 | JUNE 2012

Building Europe 2020 in Partnership Tourism as a driver for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth

Tourism and the EU 3 EPP opinions on tourism 4

Europe 2020 EPP Taskforce 6

Smart tourism 8

Sustainable tourism 15

Inclusive tourism 20

Tourism and Europe 2020

Financial tools 22

Conclusions and future prospects 23

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 EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions is convinced that entrepreneurship and innovative tourism activities are central to achieving the goals set out under the Europe 2020 Strategy. In particular, the three following characteristics can boost growth and jobs in our cities and regions. Firstly, it is essential to note that tourism is the third most important socioeconomic activity in the EU generating more than 5% of GDP of the European economy and employing 5.2% of the workforce. Moreover, during this time of financial and economic uncertainty, the tourism sector has continued to bring much needed revenue to the local and regional economy. Second, tourist attractions provide a great possibility for employment in the EU and as many of the projects in this brochure demonstrate there is a direct correlation on the jobs created. Third, and finally, tourism is key to fostering territorial cohesion within the EU, particularly in terms of encouraging the economic and social integration of rural and mountain areas, coastal regions and islands, peripheral and ultra-peripheral regions and less prosperous regions. However, it is not always easy for tourism to thrive. Throughout Europe, the tourism sector is facing a number of challenges from growing global competitiveness to the demographic evolution in Europe, environmental awareness and the development of information and communication technologies. We, in the EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions, believe that these challenges also offer Europe great opportunities to ensure that Europe remains the number 1 tourist destination whilst benefiting from innovative, imaginative solutions that will help them to unlock the potential offered by the sector. This third brochure, published on the initiative of the EPP Group Task Force on Europe 2020, aims to demonstrate the clear links between tourism and the Europe 2020 Strategy by highlighting best practices and tourism projects that are already promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe’s regions and cities and beyond. By using EU funds, it is possible for Europe’s regions and cities to further contribute to achieving the Europe 2020 goals on the ground. Michael Schneider, President of the EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions

Tourism is certainly one of the sectors that can provide a valuable contribution to the achievement of the Europe 2020 objectives! Tourism has an important potential for sustainable growth enhancement and job creation in the EU. It directly offers jobs to almost 9.7 million citizens, with a significant proportion of young people, and it provides a direct contribution of 5% to the EU GDP. Furthermore, over the last ten years, it clearly registered a rate of employment growth sensitively more pronounced than in other economic sectors and it strongly contributed to economic recovery in several Member States by good performance in terms of international tourist arrivals. Local and regional authorities can play a very important role towards strengthening Europe’s sustainable development and growth in the future. Furthermore, they can contribute towards promoting a competitive industry, for instance, by ensuring a reliable and businessfriendly local administration and providing a good local infrastructure. I consider that regions and cities represent major players in the field of industry sectors such as tourism and, therefore, strengthened cooperation between the Commission and the Committee of the Regions is of crucial importance. The Committee of the Regions has an important contribution to bring towards enhancing the competitiveness of the European tourism sector, which deserves to be taken into consideration. Antonio Tajani, European Commissioner 2

Tourism and the EU: A developing relationship 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”. These requirements for an ambitious European policy were recognised at the informal meeting of ministers for tourism organised on the initiative of the Spanish Presidency of the Council on 15 April 2010. Following the high-level conference on European tourism held in Madrid on 14 April 2010, a decisive step towards committing the Union and all the Member States to a competitive, sustainable, modern and socially responsible tourism sector as taken. Thus the EU ministers for tourism supported the ‘Madrid Declaration’, which establishes a series of recommendations concerning the implementation of a consolidated European tourism policy, stresses the need to strengthen sustainable competitiveness in the sector and recognises the added value of action by the EU on tourism, providing a worthwhile complement to action by the Member States through an integrated approach to tourism. In its 2010 communication on tourism, the Commission has identified four main priorities: •

Stimulate competitiveness in the European tourism sector;

Promote the development of sustainable, responsible and high-quality tourism;

Consolidate the image and profile of Europe as a collection of sustainable and high quality destinations;

Maximise the potential of EU financial policies and instruments for developing tourism.

It has also developed a rolling implementation plan, outlining major tourism-related initiatives to be implemented in close cooperation with national, regional and local public authorities as well as with tourism associations and other public/private tourism stakeholders.



Keeping Europe the world’s top tourist destination is the objective of a Communication tabled by the European Commission on 30.06.2010. With 370 million international arrivals in 2008, Europe has more than 40% of the global figure - a position which needs to be retained. However the fast changing worldwide economy impacts on the tourism sector with some important changes concerning tourist behaviour and markets of origin. While flagging challenges such as seasonality and an aging population, the Commission document outlines a policy that aims at supporting this essential sector of the European economy and proposes initiatives to promote its competitiveness, its sustainable and quality-based development and the visibility of Europe as an outstanding tourist destination. Rapporteur: Ramon Luis Valcárcel Siso


The rapporteur recognises that tourism makes a substantial contribution to national GDP in all the Member States, even though its role and benefits as a business activity vary widely between them, in respect both of national finances and of local and regional development. He also acknowledges that the tourist industry faces a series of challenges, first and foremost the economic downturn. In this context, there is a need to boost the tourist industry and support entrepreneurship in this sector, on account of the social dimension of tourism in the sphere of employment and social and regional cohesion. Finally, this opinion underlines that tourism must be developed on a sustainable basis, so that natural resources are not squandered and the environment is not damaged. The natural wealth of an area must be respected, and exploited with a view to the eco-friendly, sustainable development of tourism, the aim being to protect and enhance the environment, safeguard it for future generations, and create conditions for the development of new employment opportunities. Rapporteur: Konstantinos Tatsis

WORKING TOGETHER FOR THE FUTURE OF EUROPEAN TOURISM COM(2001) 665 final) - 13.11.2001 In the Communication on “Working together for the future of European tourism”, the Commission outlined its ideas on how best to exploit the European tourism sector’s competitive potential. The Communication is the final milestone of the “tourism and employment” process that was launched four years earlier. Rapporteur: Alfonso Andria 4

REGIONS LEADING THE WAY TOWARDS A NEW EUROPEAN TOURISM POLICY: DECLARATION OF THE COMMISSION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (DEVE) OF THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 5 March 2007 under the chairmanship of Pedro Sanz Alonso In this declaration, the Committee of the Regions welcomes the Commission Communication on a renewed EU Tourism Policy and the report of its Tourism Sustainability Group and endorses its objectives to improve the competitiveness of the European tourism industry and to create more and better jobs through the sustainable growth of tourism in Europe and globally. Moreover, the CoR shares the view that changing demography, external competition, the need for sustainability and the demand for specific forms of tourism are the main challenges facing European Tourism. It also highlights the role of regional and local authorities in promoting sustainable tourism and draws attention to the range of good practices discussed at the seminar, especially those arising from close cooperation between European regions, for example in the field of social, cultural, heritage and ecotourism.


The European Community is of the view that strong environmental policies should be in place to tackle negative environmental effects arising from trade liberalisation, both at national and international levels, so as to make sure that trade and environment are mutually supportive for the sake of sustainable development. The Committee of the Regions opinion noted particularly that rural tourism helps to safeguard and create jobs in rural areas, and is a key factor in social and cultural development. Rapporteur: Reinhold Bocklet


Europe 2020 EPP Taskforce Seven flagship initiatives have been launched as primary tools to put the Europe 2020 Strategy into practice, according to the three objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth: •

Smart growth: Innovation Union, Youth on the Move, a Digital Agenda for Europe;

Sustainable growth: Resource Efficient Europe, an Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era;

Inclusive growth: an Agenda for New Skills and Jobs, and European Platform Against Poverty.

During its Group meeting in December 2010, the EPP Group set up a task force under the chairmanship of Markku Markkula to monitor the strategy’s progress and its flagship initiatives at EU and Member State level.

DIGITAL AGENDA FOR EUROPE “I have experienced how we, the university education professionals, helped tourism in Lapland to pioneer the use of internet already 20 years ago. Since that time the change has been dramatic. I see integrating experience economy and virtual reality becoming the driver of new businesses. This opens enormous amounts of jobs for the young digital generation and flexible small communities of practice to form strategic alliances.” Markku Markkula, Espoo City Council Member, Uusimaa Regional Council Member

AGENDA FOR NEW SKILLS AND JOBS “While there will be no dedicated funding programme during 2014-2020 specifically targeted at tourism interests, the proposals for the future COSME Programme (Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs) suggest that the need to develop competitiveness in the industry is being prioritised. There are proposals to promote ICT uptake by tourism enterprises; combat tourism seasonality; promote sustainable tourism products and destinations; deploy a skills and competences framework for employees and employers in the sector; and to facilitate exchange of best practices and partnership creation. This is very welcome. What is also required now is better cooperation between Member States to diversify the transnational tourism offer, coordinate national efforts towards enhancing Europe’s visibility in third markets and jointly promoting emerging, non-traditional European destinations.” Constance Hanniffy, Member of Offaly County Council and President of the monitoring committee of the Border, Midland and West Regional Assembly

RESOURCE EFFICIENT EUROPE “Europe must become the leading society in terms of using its resources efficiently. Producing renewable energy, waste management and protecting natural resources are the sectors that can enhance the tourist pull of a given region. Tourism is thriving more and more in the regions that respect their natural wealth; tourists therefore need to be educated about respecting the environment that is welcoming them and for using the resources offered to them in a responsible way.” Michel Lebrun, Member of Walloon Parliament


INNOVATION UNION “The innovation in the tourism business is a new key point to re-launch the economy. In fact it can be seen either as the technological innovation applied to tourism or innovation to re-invent the touristic offer. The first one is the technological innovation applied to the tourism. Thanks to the growing use of smartphones, PC, tablets and Ipad, the available information is accessible immediately and new touristic offers can be proposed. An example is the application of QR code on the typical agri-food and crafts products which can interactively tell the story of an area. Moreover, the technology allows apps to be developed for mobile devices to improve the experience of the visits through what it is called “augmented reality” The second aspect focuses on the broader significance of innovation and leads to the proposal of special packages, diversifying the offer beyond the peaks of maximum flow of the destinations. In this case the benefit is double: greater availability of resorts and, consequently, increased employment of staff in the sector due to a lower incidence of seasonality.” Maria Luisa Coppola, Councillor of the Veneto Region

YOUTH ON THE MOVE “With five million young Europeans looking for a job, the tourism sector can offer numerous possibilities to help these young people gain the knowledge, skills and experience they need to make their dream job a reality. Current projections suggest that around 50% of jobs in the EU in 2020 will depend on medium-level qualifications of the type provided by vocational education and training. If Europe wants to compete in the tourism global market, much of this will depend on the quality of the people working in this industry. Innovative and dynamic young people who can speak foreign languages have a great opportunity in the future.” Malcolm Mifsud, Mayor of Pieta, President of the Central Region in Malta

INDUSTRIAL POLICY FOR THE GLOBALISATION ERA “The many ways in which tourism stimulates other sectors makes it a lead sector, creating and maintaining jobs in rural areas above all. Tourism benefits not just the hospitality industry, but also in particular transport, retailing, the leisure industry and crafts. It is important to enhance companies’ competitiveness and strengthen business autonomy, also in tourism. Fiscal policy and labour market policy, and above all general policy for SMEs, play a key role in developing an effective tourism policy.” Emilia Müller, Minister for Federal and European Affairs in the Bavarian State Chancellery

EUROPEAN PLATFORM AGAINST POVERTY AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION “Ageing is the phase of life, which touches each person. It is associated with many limitations: health, material and social exclusion. First of all, the most important for us, is to undertake all activities aiming at intergenerational solidarity and social inclusion of all people, irrespective of age. It is particularly significant to carry on such projects like the “Senior Tourist” project which exists in my region in order to stimulate passion, interest and long social activity.” Witold Stępień, Marshall of the Łódzkie Region, Poland 7


Smart tourism The Europe 2020 Strategy calls for innovation in tourism, for example to reinforce the quality of supply in all its dimensions, improve professional skills in the sector, to overcome the seasonal nature of demand, diversify the supply of tourist services and help to improve statistics and analyses relating to tourism.

SMEs, new technologies and training Stimulating knowledge and supporting SMEs Customer/ market innovation

Resource innovation

Product innovation

Process innovation

The Helsinki regional Centre of Expertise (Culminatum Innovation) is part of a Tourism and Experience Management Cluster Programme, which integrates the expertise of the leading tourism and experience management centres into research and innovation in Finland. It is based on active regional and national cooperation between research institutes, businesses and actors of public sector from each area and boosts innovative SMEs in the tourism sector.

www.oske.net/en/competence_clusters/tourism_and_experience_ Changes in the business environment


Enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs in a globalised world Travel Open Apps is the tourist distribution platform of the Valencia region. It has been selected as the technology system for the Project P.ICT.URISM, funded by the European Union to integrate small and medium-sized tourism service providers and agents, tour operators and distributors in other countries thanks to its wide transformation capacity and innovative character. Open Source Technology, Software as a Service and Cloud Computing Service mean that it is accessible everywhere.


Creating easy to use systems thanks to new technology ARPA is a one stop shop for booing accommodation in Murcia. The aim of the project is to be able to provide accurate information on availability and prices using a single interface. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Region of Murcia has thus opened a new channel for the direct promotion of tourism products through the portal, which also offers sections dedicated to special offers and breaks. It also encourages business to business relations. The design seeks to provide the necessary information with great agility in the page navigation


Facilitating visits through the use of technology The use of modern technologies in tourism becomes more and more popular. The GPSwielkopolska project, developed by the authorities of the Wielkopolska Region, is devoted to this particular topic. As the first region in Poland and one of just a few in Europe, we offer the possibility to make it easier to visit the Wielkopolska Region with the help of several applications based on GPS (Global Positioning System). The apps are specialized for particular groups of tourists: cyclists, car drivers etc. Some of them are designed to work on mobile phones.



Increasing competitiveness and tourism potential through the Internet The Tourist Information System in Wielkopolska consists of 46 tourist infokiosks. The information covers the most important information about the Region including tourist spots, board and accommodation. In addition, the infokiosk user has also the opportunity to browse the current events and the latest news from the Region. Those who wish to stay informed constantly may subscribe to receive newsletter. It is even possible to send a virtual postcard! It has been developed by the Wielkopolska Tourist Organisation in partnership with local government within the Wielkopolska Region. It is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).


Benefiting from the digital society

Rewarding excellent customer service

Individual tourism companies in Helsinki have reported a major increase of traffic to their Internet, Facebook pages etc as result of training and innovation around eMarketing and eTourism. The Experience Management Cluster Programme offers supports to boost the competitiveness of companies through the use of new media, technology and communication tools.

The Małopolska Tourist Information System (MSIT) certification process aims to ensure that 34 Tourist Information points throughout the region work to equally high tourist service standards. The system also integrates a tourist web portal as a source of reliable and up-to-date tourist information about Małopolska. The project is implemented in partnership with 25 communes and counties in Małopolska as part of the Małopolska Regional Operational Programme.



Sharing local knowledge Bird watching in Faro is of great importance for tourism. The coastal area is a protected lagoon that extends along 60km of diverse habitats where the saltpans and pine woodlands allow for an incredible diversity of species.Bird watching tours and guides are therefore vehicles for the promotion of values and the natural heritage of the Algarve, sharing information about places and birds that flock, all year, to the region.



Smart tourism Herritage and tradition: the path to new tourists Preserving cultural heritage The newest part of the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź is located in the historic building of a 19th century weaving plant. Thanks to the conversion, the region now has the most attractive museum in Poland for its modern art collection and space for a bookstore. Moreover, the Herbst Palace, due to open in Spring 2012, has been restored to its original appearance thanks to financial support from the EU Regional Development Fund and the budget of the Łódź voivodeship self-government.


Creating synergies across tourism sectors The ERDF has helped the stunning new Acropolis Museum to be built, providing extensive facilities and an exhibition space covering more than 14 000 square metres. The Museum’s construction began in 2004 and was finally completed in 2007. The project was not undertaken in isolation, however. Various other projects at archaeological sites and museums across Greece were carried out in an effort to tap into the wealth of its cultural assets and use them to contribute to growth, employment and tourism, some of the key goals in the EU 2020 strategy.


Channelling history into future growth The first railroad reached Wolsztyn in 1886 from Zbąszynek, and soon the town became a major center for the railroad network. An Engine House for eight engines was built in Wolsztyn in 1907. It looks and works the same to this day making it the only one of that kind in Europe. It boasts a moving turntable from 1908 which turns heavy locomotives and directs them to the engine house. There are about 30 engines on exhibit with 13 of them in working order. Among them is the pride and joy of Wolsztyn called “Beautiful Helena,” the fastest Polish steam engine (Pm 36-2 model) that reaches the speed of 130 km/h.


Combining tradition with modernity The City of Białystok has prepared and published a series of informative materials on the thematic trails which can be visited, as well as all the essential tourist guidebooks. It also promotes five tourist trails including the Branicki Family Trail, the Białystok Manufacturers Trail, the Bialystok Churches Trail, the Wooden Architecture Trail and the Trail of Esperanto and many cultures. The Białystok trails are also contained in an innovative, interactive location-based game, which invites visitors to take a different look at the streets of Białystok and special places in the city.

www.discover.bialystok.pl 10

Giving a new lease of life to major landmarks Lough Key boasts one of the most extensive and picturesque forest parks in Ireland, covering 324 hectares on the west coast of Ireland, 40 km south east of Sligo. Major development of the site, made possible by EU funding, has brought a cluster of unique attractions adapted to the needs of 21st century visitors, offering a new lakeside centre which forms a gateway to an array of action-packed activities as well as more leisurely pursuits. As a result of this transformation, visitor numbers rose to 57 000 in 2008.


Restoring destinations of historical and cultural heritage

Recreating sites for authentic tourism and education

Declared a historic and artistic site in 1964, Lorca is known as the‘Baroque city’thanks to the important Baroque monuments in its historic centre. This part of the city is currently in the process of reconstruction after the earthquake suffered in May 2011. It was shortlisted in the European Commission’s EDEN programme (European Destinations of Excellence), in recognition of its sustainable tourism proposal. Through the initiative ‘Lorca, a Workshop in Time’, designed to promote the historic and artistic heritage of the city, visitors can take sightseeing tours which include tickets for the tourist train, admission to monuments such as the Fortress of the Sun and the Palace of Guevara, and museums such as the Archaeology Museum and the Paso Blanco and Paso Azul embroidery museums.

The area of the battle of Chaidari is today occupied by a castle-like edifice, known as Palataki, which is, along with its surrounding area, a listed historical place since 1979. A commemorative stela today reminds of the events that took place during the 1821 Revolution. The restoration teams worked for five years with special care and devotion. Necessary materials, such as marble, iron nails etc., were particularly selected, so as to match the originals. The ceiling paintings were uncovered and restored to their original vividness. The same process was followed for the exterior stone walls and embrasures.



Promoting cultural entrepreneurship and excellence A survey in 1996 of arts and crafts enterprises in County Leitrim, a sparsely populated rural county, found that the wealth of cultural entrepreneurship had the potential to become a vibrant and productive sector. Leitrim County Enterprise Board therefore developed a strategic initiative to provide members with opportunities to develop their enterprises showcasing modern Irish crafts through exhibitions of contemporary jewellery, ceramics, glass, applied art, textiles and limited edition prints, paintings sculpture and contemporary fashion. Thanks to EU funds, 26 new businesses have been established and many local people have found employment.

www.intoleitrim.com 11


Smart tourism Targeted markets Introducing innovative new sports to Belgium In Viroinval and the surrounding Viroin-Hermeton nature park, a European Destinations of Excellence, it is now possible to take up Nordic Walking – the first possibility for this sport in Belgium. Always at the forefront of green tourism, this Walloon region is opened the new tracks to increase the number of visitors and to boost all tourism potential through links to wellness centres, hotels and restaurants.


Strengthening sporting activities through dedicated services

Respecting natural assets for economic potential

Galicia’s commitment to sustainable tourism and respect for the environment is at the heart of its project for mountain biking. The first centre dedicated to the sport opened in Meis in 2011 and the region plans to open six to eight more dedicated centers to complete the network. They will all host facilities including bike rental, showers and information on dedicated routes to practice the sport.

The Westpomeranian Region boasts enormous tourist potential. A very significant part of this potential is water tourism thanks to the Baltic Sea, the Szczecin Lagoon, rivers and lake districts. Recognising the great potential of the region’s water assets, a number of initiatives including the Westpomeranian Sailing Route have been undertaken. By modernising the sailing infrastructure and the extending the ports and marinas, the region can utilise the existing natural assets and boost the sustainable development of the region’s bodies of water. The Westpomeranian Sailing Route combines 16 investments with the total value of PLN 229 million. The activities are co-financed with EU funds.



Stimulating the regional economy through garden tourism In recent years, Lower Austria has carried out extensive activities at various levels in developing the topic of garden tourism. In 2007, 30 garden tourism-related operations from all regions of Lower Austria united to form an association with the support of European Regional Development Funds. Their shared aim is to develop and market their gardens through the activation and founding of garden networks which will establish Lower Austria as a leading European garden destination. Kittenberger Gardens is not only a popular tourist destination in itself; it also stimulates overall demand in the regional economy.



Getting closer to nature The climate of Galicia favours the cultivation of camellias and promotes a long flowering of this plant, whose flowers adorn the Galician gardens in both autumn and winter. Turgalicia and the Spanish Society of the Camellia have collaborated in the development of the Camelia route, which extends from Vigo in the south by way of the historic pilgrimage centre of Santiago de Compostela to La Coruña in the north. Along the way, there are a number of splendid gardens to visit, including the outstanding Castillo de Soutomaior.


Supporting rural sustainable development Farms in South Tyrol tend to be small and it is becoming more and more difficult for farmers to live from farming alone. The ‘Red Rooster’ scheme has therefore tried to ensure that farm life carries on in a sustainable manner with the successful combination of agriculture and tourism since 1999. The farming holidays under the Red Rooster scheme guarantee a genuinely enjoyable holiday experience featuring traditional rural life, farm produce, an authentic atmosphere, warm hospitality and closeness to nature.


Reflecting rural and agricultural traditions Kopli Madise farm, located ~35 km from Estonian capital Tallinn is remarkable example of sustainable rural tourism where traditional farming, modern facilities and homemade food offer a valuable getaway from urban sprawl. This family-owned homestead dates back to 1892 and now the historical buildings are turned into popular venue for various events – seminars, celebrations etc - loved and appreciated both by local and foreign guests. The interior and accessories are carefully and specially designed to represent and reflect the site’s rural and agricultural background, local materials and handicraft are used as much as possible.


Raising awareness of gastronomic tradition An exclusive culinary guidebook “Flavours of Białystok. A Culinary Guide to the Capital of Podlasie” has been prepared and published to boost culinary tourism in the region. It is complemented by a web page which provides information on the culinary trail of Białystok, restaurants connected with it, organised events and regional cuisine.



Transforming local products into touristic assets La Rioja has led the way in transforming a natural product, wine, into a prestigious touristic asset at national and international level. And its successful eco-tourism model is a reference that can be applied to gastronomic tourism as well. La Rioja has developed a comprehensive approach to gastronomy as a touristic asset that spans from the extraordinary quality and flavours of its agricultural products with Designation of Origin to the enhancement of these products thanks to the culinary tradition, talent and innovation of La Rioja’s chefs and cuisines.


Establishing leading tourist destinations through local understanding Around ten years ago, two wine-growers – including one of the best makers of sparkling wine in Austria – and a wellknown auditor from the region decided to establish a leading tourist destination centered on wine. At the time, this rural area of Langenlois had the highest number of agricultural operations per district in all of Lower Austria. Today, along with the Wachau region, the LOISIUM World of Wine has become one of the most important wine-based tourist attractions in Austria with nearly 55,000 paying visitors each year. This project was made possible through ERDF funding.


Boosting local enterprises through innovation The Council of the City of Victoria in Gozo together with the Arena del Sole Theatre in Bologna embarked on an innovative project with the aim to explore Gozitan culture through food, heritage and culinary delights. The discovery and promotion of this unexplored sector on the island was achieved through a journey of a group of popular Italian journalists accompanied by top Italian chefs all the way from Bologna to Gozo in prestigious cars. Through this Grand Tour of Taste that culminated on the island of Gozo and later the Serata di Gola, for which prominent people from Bologna participated, a widespread publicity of the island of Gozo in the centre of the Mediterranean, took place all around. This innovative project was nominated and later won the 1st prize of the Maltese National Enterprise Support Awards in April 2012 and is being nominated for the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2012.




Sustainable tourism The sector’s competitiveness is closely linked to its sustainability, as the quality of tourist destinations is strongly influenced by their natural and cultural environment and their integration into a local community.

Management of resources Boosting resource efficiency Galician thermal facilities make up 20% of the facilities of its kind in the whole of Spain. The AITEGAL water cluster, promotes energy efficiency in spas and thermal facilities to ensure that tourist attractions are also resource efficient. Turgalicia encourages this type of tourism through special offers including “Autumn in the baths’, ‘Healthy Nights’ or ‘Spas in the Camino de Santiago’.


Using clean l energy whilst hl promoting culture

Integrating b business needs d in the local environment

In the heart of Brussels, the Magritte Museum pays tribute to one of the greatest Belgian artists through over 200 of his works, paintings, drawings, sculptures or posters. This is also a very sustainable museum and the renovation and upgrading of the building meet the latest environmental criteria. Moreover, with photovoltaic solar panels were installed on the roof, the electricity the building needs is guaranteed to be green and the solar protected windows also save a lot of energy.

The Finnish Nature Centre Haltia is an impressive modern and ecologically designed Conference and Event Center on the fringes of Nuuksio National Park in Espoo, 25 kilometres from Helsinki. The centre will be opened for public in spring 2013 and will present innovative exhibitions against the backdrop of stunning wildlife and natural scenery. Innovative solutions exploiting solar energy and thermal energy from the ground will make the Nature Centre 75% self-sufficient in terms of heating and 100% self-sufficient for cooling. The building will be made entirely of wood, including its load-bearing structures and its varied facades, so it will blend subtly into its surroundings like a bird in its nest.


www.visitespoo.fi/visitors_guide/enjoy/nuuksio_ national_park/haltia-en

Applying ecological characteristics to architecture The Galaxia & Euro Space Center project was set up to give the new and renovated buildings of the center an innovative, a high-tech and an ecological character. Photovoltech, a solar panel manufacturer in Verviers, participated in the project and contributed to the 440 kWp capacity of the installation and the estimated energy yield of 400 MWh. This corresponds with a reduction of the CO2 emission of 175 tons each year, equal to the absorption capacity of more than 6.000 trees. The solar panels cover a surface of more than 4.400 m2, making it one of the largest architectural photovoltaic applications ever realized in Europe.




Sustainable tourism Respect for nature

Promoting natural beauty Galicia, like most of the western of Europe, is an ideal place for watching the migration of birds. The region has 61 sites for the practice of ornithological tourism, distributed inland wetlands, coastal zones and open sea, agro-forestry areas, mountainous areas, urban, canyons and river valleys. To raise awareness of the richest bird life in the area, Turgalicia has created a special section on its website dedicated to this type of tourism, which includes a catalogue of birds that can be view and a selection of the ten best places for watching.


Allowing responsible enjoyment of nature at its finest The mouth of the River Minho in A Guarda was awarded the distinction of European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) in 2010 for recognition of its sustainable tourism development. The Miño estuary is a wide humid area of 1,668 Ha. of high ecological value. Not only is the estuary under the protection of several agreements and treaties to ensure that visitors can witness nature at its finest, there are excellent walking opportunities along the coast and the Miño riverside thanks to recently established routes and paths in 2010.

www.aguarda.es/index.php?option=com_content &task=view&id=59&Itemid=127

Protecting cultural heritage and preserving the natural integrity The Camino de Santiago is a clear example of the commitment to the conservation of the pilgrimage route by the Galician authorities, private entities, associations and the local population. The basis of this conservation plan is based on the Corrector of the Camino de Santiago, coordinated by the Society of S. A. Xestión do Xacobeo Plan, whose main objectives is to improve the signage of the route, encourage conservation, preserve the heritage and develop a public network of shelters and services. The Camino de Santiago is a product aimed at all audiences, whose diverse tourism allows it to fit the profile of each pilgrim, embracing from the thermal baths to rural tourism.


Balancing environmental protection, coastal protection and tourism The reconstruction of 5.5 kilometers of the promenade in Scharbeutz on the German Baltic Sea Coast has served to reactivate tourism as well as providing better coastal protection. Over a period of eight years, more than €25 million was invested in the tourism infrastructure with the support of the EU. Thanks to this project, the economy, ecology and social life of the local community in Scharbeutz has enjoyed long term benefits.

www.scharbeutz.de/en/latest-news/scharbeutz-is-changing.html 16

Contributing to sustainable transport

Facilitating transport connections

The RAVeL non-motorised transport network for pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, horse riders and the disabled was born from the desire to develop an effective mobility policy in an environmentally friendly way. Ever since the first paths were opened in 1996, RAVeL has continued to grow. Today, there are over a thousand kilometres of track covering disused railway lines and towpaths. It therefore contributes to the establishment of a European sustainable development policy in cooperation with the regions.

Since time immemorial, the Alps have exercised an incomparable fascination over mankind. Though for centuries a spine-chilling place full of dangers and legends, the hikers and cyclists of today love and yearn for this mighty mountain range as a place of magic and beauty. With the new northsouth bicycle crossing from Salzburg to the Adriatic, a longnurtured dream has finally come true.



Sustainable integration of tourism in the city CovilhĂŁ is a green city committed to environmental protection and tourism in the hillside of the Mountain. With an effective use of EU resources, the city is able to offer sustainable hospitality, leisure and mobility for all of its visitors. For example, the architecture of the H2OTEL ensures that it fits into the natural landscape, the Garden Lake offers the largest green area in the city in order to provide a balance between nature and the built environment and the high-style pedestrian bridge over the Carpinteira river contributes to the sustainable mobility of inhabitants and visitors alike.


Increasing the quality of cycle paths and boosting local productivity In Lower Austria, since the late 1980s a total of approximately 3,300 km of cycling tracks were created, but with widely differing qualities of development. With increasing demand for cycling tourism, however, the quality requirements of the cycling guests have grown concomitantly. To take this trend into account, in mid-2004 the “LA Bike Route Optimization Program� was initiated. This programme, supported by the ERDF, is the first attempt in Austria to promote product development with the service providers relevant for cycling tourism and has seen annual gross sales soar.



Taking account of the environmental impact of activities The need to combine a high-quality environment with modern and fashionable commercial facilities makes Madeira the perfect location for eco-friendly public transport. The regional and local administrations have worked together to bring the latest eco-technology in buses to the region ensuring that air quality and congestion levels are improved. Even after accounting for power generation, Funchal’s electric buses lead the way in low carbon transport. Their success rests on the performance of so-called ‘zebra’ batteries that allow a whole day’s use in between charging.



Marketing in harmony with nature Slovenska Bistrica has been developing and marketing new tourism programmes with an emphasis on respect for nature and the environment. Integral tourist programmes aimed at different target groups (schools, kindergartens, youth, families, groups and individual tourists) have been developed within the project in collaboration with environment officers. These projects will contribute to the visibility and development of the area as well as providing a number of new jobs. Programmes showcasing the history of the region are also nicely integrated with the countryside, especially Pohorje.



Sustainable tourism A boost to local employment and growth Creating quality, sustainable jobs In 2002, a major spa facility of around 24,000 m2 was built in the region of Lower Austria, bordering the Czech Republic. Co-financed from the ERDF, this project has become one of the leading tourism projects for the entire border region. Therme Laa, often called “the spa for all the senses,” has been able to clearly differentiate itself from other competing spas thanks to its “Light & Music Spa Therapy” concept. In total, over 200 people have found work at the spa and spa hotel. And around 160 additional jobs in the region have originated indirectly from the facility or are being safeguarded thanks to its existence, e.g. vendors and partners working with the Therme Laa Hotel & Spa.


Bringing in new visitors to low population areas Due to development of one of the natural resources of the region – geothermal waters – the Uniejow city has been recognized in Poland. The benefits are enormous, not only in terms of environment protection and lower bills of heating but also in terms of recreation. Thanks to the several European Funded projects local government has been able to build Thermal Pools Center and a tourist product called Uniejow Hot Springs has been created. In the consequence, since the opening of the aquapark in 2008, over 600 000 people have visited the town, which has barely 3000 inhabitants.


Overcoming seasonality through continuous innovation The secret to the success of SaimaaHoliday is the variable ways of utilising Linnansaari and Kolovesi aquatic national parks all year round. SaimaaHoliday offers travel products in tour skating, fishing, nature watching, paddling and boating. The nature experiences are supported by high quality cottage and hotel accommodation and restaurant and sauna services. In 2010, SaimaaHoliday was selected as the winner of EDEN 2010 Finland competition for rising aquatic tourism destinations that offer versatile services throughout the year.




Inclusive tourism Social tourism proves that economic and employment opportunities, key goals within the Lisbon strategy, can indeed be generated by increasing tourism accessibility for additional strata of the European population. For example, Calypso allows as many people as possible to go on holiday and therefore, significantly aids mobility. Moreover, it can also contribute to combat seasonality, strengthen the notion of European citizenship and to promote regional development besides facilitating the development of specific local economies.

Promoting hospitality without limits Rotatur tour operators based in Faro have recognised the need for progressive special services to people with reduced mobility. They have therefore created a special team dedicated to accessible tourism in the Algarve. Featuring dedicated vehicles that are suitable for transporting wheelchairs between the airport and hotels, the project enables all visitors to enjoy the hospitality of the Algarve without limits.


Boosting accessibility both physically and virtually Cartagena’s history is tied to its port. Thanks to this and its natural wealth, the city has three thousand years of history have left traces of different cultures. In 2000, the Autonomous Community of Murcia and Cartagena City Council led the creation of a Consortium called Cartagena Port of Cultures involving the chamber of commerce and the university. Thanks to this Consortium and the support of the local community, Cartagena’s heritage is now accessible to many people through physical accessibility projects such as through the adaptation of museums to different audiences (students, senior citizens, disabled) and virtually through the web page which has been designed to be accessible to all audiences (visual, auditory ..).


Ensuring equal access for tourists to explore The Małopolska Tourist Information System (MSIT) features special posts for disabled visitors that are fitted with specialist equipment, enabling disabled visitors to independently browse and collect the materials that they are interested in, for instance in the form of printouts or MP3 recordings. It also offers printed materials for blind and visually impaired visitors. Unique Braille materials were prepared, as well as CDs with audio postcards including special binaural recordings that give an illusion of being and moving around the recorded space. The production of this material is supported by EU funds. Moreover, models of buildings, monuments and famous people, designed by Krakow artist Karol Badyna, make a Royal Way for Handicapped Tourists throughout Krakow allowing closer interactions with their surroundings for sight impaired tourists and local inhabitants.



Ensuring inclusive access to tourism destinations The board of Arousa Norte, located in the region of O Barbanza (A Coruña), has a project to ensure tourism services meet the needs of people with visual impairment. Based on this project, the county has formed sector personnel to meet the specific needs of these people and created an integrated tourist package that includes accommodation in country houses, restaurants and leisure activities. It also has an offer tailored to this group visits to places like the Central Archaeological Barbanza or Corrubedo Natural Park.


Encouraging participation of senior citizens The Łódzkie Senior Tourist Programme, started by the League of Polish i the h Region R i in i 2011, 2011 is i example how to activate women in older people into society. Through organized activities, nordic-walking, English lessons or educational and tourist excursions, participants not only became acquainted with each other, but above all proved to everyone, that you can spent your free time in interesting and active way in each age.


Getting people back in work People the world over have always been fascinated by the mystery of stars and their place in the history of the universe. The project ‘Arche Nebra’ in Saxony Anhalt has contributed to educating and entertaining people about these mysterious celestial objects by building a multimedia visitors’ centre near Mittelberg hill where the bronze Nebra Sky Disc was discovered in 1999. In a region hit by high unemployment, the project supported by the ERDF created several new jobs.


Promoting language learning for access into the international market place Malta has built a reputation of being one of Europe’s best English Language School Centres. Since English is one of Malta’s official languages, students are attracted to visit Malta for specialised courses in English; the leading international business and diplomatic language. In 2011, almost 17000 students attended 38 English language schools in Malta and Gozo. The top four nationalities represented are Italy, Germany, Russia and France. The sectors have grown in that not only secondary and post secondary students are attending these courses, but also University students and professionals are being attracted.

Creating job opportunities for young people The Via Verde system of using old railway tracks as green tourist routes for hikers, bikers and horses has allowed visitors to enjoy Murcia in a sustainable way since its completion in 1998. However, during 2012 a number of young unemployed residents from Bullas, Cehegin and Caravaca de la Cruz have been recruited for a period of 12 months to work on further developing the much used pilgrimage route. It is hoped that the skills and training they receive during this project will enable the young people to find employment once their work on the Via Verde is done.



Financial support for tourism projects

Under the current programming period (2004 - 2013), the European Commission has continuously promoted and mobilised Community support instruments and programmes in favour of tourism. Indeed, tourism represents a priority for many coastal areas, where a decline in economic activities has led to a fall in incomes and increased unemployment. The diversification of activities from just fishing to tourism is supported by the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) as part of local development strategies. EU rural development policy is also of considerable importance to the tourism sector. Through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), the Commission can support, among other things, the establishment of businesses active within rural tourism, the development and promotion of agri-tourism and capitalisation on the cultural and natural heritage of rural regions, including mountain areas. Cohesion policy has allowed more than EUR 6 billion to be directly targeted to support tourism, representing 1.8% of the total budget. EUR 3.8 billion is allocated for the improvement of tourist services, EUR 1.4 for the protection and development of natural heritage, and EUR 1.1 billion for the promotion of natural assets. In addition, support for tourism-related infrastructure and services can be provided under other headings, such as innovation, promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises, information technology applications and human capital. Other instruments include other European structural funds (ERDF, ESF), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the seventh framework programme for research and development (FP7), which will continue to finance the setting up of specific projects. Between 2007 and 2013. In 2007, four new financial instruments were set up to provide technical assistance to improve access of SMEs to microfinance and to support urban development. Here, the Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas (JESSICA) is of particular importance. An initiative of the European Commission developed by the European Commission in co-operation with the European Investment Bank and the Council of Europe Development Bank, JESSICA promotes sustainable urban development by supporting projects in the areas of urban infrastructure – including transport, water/waste water, energy, heritage or cultural sites – for tourism or other sustainable uses, redevelopment of brownfield sites – including site clearance and decontamination, the creation of new commercial floor space for SMEs, IT and/or R&D sectors, university buildings – medical, biotech and other specialised facilities and energy efficiency improvements. Finally, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) is of particular importance to tourism because it has supported the creation of European networks for competitive and sustainable tourism since 2008.


Conclusions The EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions is convinced that the projects highlighted in this brochure represent positive examples for boosting growth in Europe’s regions and cities. Moreover, further funding in the next programme could facilitate and contribute to further projects enabling European local and regional authorities make a concrete step towards achieving the priorities of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

Future prospects The possibilities for supporting tourism through the various European funds and by consolidating existing preparatory actions in this field after 2013 will depend on the guidelines adopted with regard to the European Union’s action priorities, bearing budget constraints in mind. However, according to the Commission proposal for the next budget, EU tourism measures will focus on: •

providing reliable information on trends in tourism demand at European level;

developing competitiveness in the tourism industry and promoting ICT uptake by tourism enterprises;

combating tourism seasonality;

promoting sustainable tourism products and destinations;

deploying a skills and competences framework for employees and employers in the sector;

facilitating exchange of best practices and partnership creation

In line with the Lisbon Treaty provisions, EU tourism measures will encourage cooperation between the Member States by contributing to the diversification of the transnational tourism offer, coordinating national efforts towards enhancing Europe’s visibility in third markets and jointly promoting emerging, non-traditional European destinations. Local and regional authorities clearly have an important role to play here.



Projects supplied by:

Dr Samuel Azzopardi Mayor of Victoria, Gozo, Malta

Rita Barberá Nolla Mayor of Valencia, Spain

Luis Durnwalder Regional Councillor and Chairman of the Bolzano Autonomous Provincial Executive, Südtirol, Austria

Oligerd Geblewicz Marshal of Westpomerania Voivodship, Poland

Constance Hanniffy Member of Offaly County Council and monitoring Committee of the Border, Midland and West Regional Assembly, Ireland

Sirpa Hertell Espoo City Councillor, 1st Vice-Chair of the City Board of Espoo, Finland

Niclas Herbst Member of the Schleswig-Holstein State Assembly, Germany


Alberto JoĂŁo Jardim President of the Regional Government of Madeira, Portugal

Michel Lebrun Member of the Walloon District of Dinant-Philippeville and Vice-President of the Walloon Parliament, Belgium

JosĂŠ Macario Correia Mayor of Faro, Portugal

Dimitris Maravelias Mayor of Chaidari, Greece

Markku Markkula Espoo City Council Member, Uusimaa Regional Council, Finland

Dr Josef Martinz Member of the Carinthian Regional Assembly, Austria

Malcolm Mifsud Mayor of Pieta, President of the Central Region in Malta, Malta


Alberto Nunez Feijo President of the Autonomous Community of Galicia, Spain

Carlos Pinto Mayor of Covilhã, Portugal

Dr Erwin Pröll Governor of Lower Austria, Austria

Pedro Sanz Alonso President of the Regional Government of La Rioja, Spain

Michael Schneider State Secretary, Delegate of Saxony-Anhalt for the German Federation, Germany

Marek Sowa Marshal of the Małopolska Voivodship, Poland

Witold Stępień Marshal of the Łódzkie Voivodship, Poland


Kadri Tillemann Mayor of Keila Municipality, Estonia

Tadeuz Truskolaski President of the city of Białystok, Poland

Ramon Luis Valcárcel Siso President of the Autonomous Community of Murcia, Spain

Marek Woźniak Marshal of the Wielkopolska Voivodship, Poland

Grigorios Zafeiropoulos Councillor of the Region of Attica, Vice President of the Regional Council of Attica, Greece

Ivan Žagar Mayor of the Municipality of Slovenska Bistrica, Slovenia



EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions Rue Belliard/Belliardstraat, 101 _ 1040 Bruxelles/Brussel _ BELGIQUE/BELGIË Tel. +32 2 282 2250 _ epp@cor.europa.eu www.epp.cor.europa.eu

© 2012 European People’s Party Group in the Committee of the Regions

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Tourism as a driver for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth  

The third in a series of publications highlighting examples of the work done by regions and cities towards the Europe 2020 Strategy

Tourism as a driver for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth  

The third in a series of publications highlighting examples of the work done by regions and cities towards the Europe 2020 Strategy

Profile for eppcor