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European Tourism Forum in Malta: Boosting a multi-billion euro sector

The tourism industry is one of the leading global economic activities, a multi-billion-euro industry with 700 million international travellers per year around the world…

The tourism industry is one of the leading global economic activities, a multi-billion-euro industry with 700 million international travellers per year around the world, and more of half of them visiting Europe. By 2020 international travellers will more than double to 1.6 billion. The European Commission organises a European Tourism Forum every year to exchange views on how this important branch of industry will remain competitive. The fourth edition of the Forum, to be held in Malta on 19 to 21 October 2005, will highlight, amongst other, better regulation and sustainable development.



Vice President Gunter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said: Europe`s tourist industry is a booming sector. The main goal of our policy is to improve the competitiveness of the European Tourism industry and create more jobs through the sustainable growth in the sector.



Even in its most narrow definition (hotels, restaurants, cafes, and bars as well as travel agencies and tour operators) the tourism industry employs about 7 million people in about 2 million enterprises (nearly 100% SMEs) and produces about 5% of the EU`s GDP. In the broader definition of the tourism sector industry (including related sectors such as transport and branches that are dependent on the tourism) its share to the EU GDP would rise to more than 11% corresponding to more than 20 million employees. Yet other destinations, especially Asia, are rapidly developing, exercising competitive pressures on Europe`s market share and issues like quality, sustainability and modernisation are emerging.



The European Tourism Forum 2005 will take place at the Mediterranean Conference Centre at Valetta. The themes to be discussed are:

  • Competitiveness related to skills and ICT
  • Better regulation with an emphasis on the proposal for a services directive
  • Sustainable development in the field of tourism


The Forum will be opened by Vice-President Gunter Verheugen, the responsible Commissioner for Tourism, with a keynote speech on the new `Modern EU Tourism Policy`. Since the forum is co-organised by the UK Presidency and Malta, an informal meeting of the European Ministers for Tourism will take place on 20 October.



The structure and content of the Forum is based on proposals and preparatory work, allowing the industry to raise and discuss the areas of greatest concern. The Forum brings together high-level figures from the industry, civil society and the European, national and regional authorities responsible for tourism. The Commission launched the first Forum in 2002 in close cooperation with the other stakeholders.



The European Tourism Forum is a good place and time to reflect on the state of the play of European tourism and to bring together all the main players and stakeholders of this vital sector.

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