ETW Staff– Mumbai
European Tourism representatives gathered at the 57th Meeting of UNWTO Commission for Europe- identified- enhanced international cooperation, innovation, private-public partnerships and accessibility as main priorities to ensure the sector’s future competiveness. The Seminar on developing effective tourism clusters, held in on the sidelines of the meeting, laid the ground for innovative collaborative approaches for sustainable tourism development in Europe.
International tourism in Europe continues to grow above expectations and despite the region’s on-going economic constrains. In 2013, international tourist arrivals grew by five per cent, an additional 29 million as compared to 2012, raising the total to 563 million, more than half of the world’s total.
Taleb Rifai, secretary-general, UNWTO, said, “Despite a fragile global economic recovery, particularly in the Eurozone, Europe continues to excel. Many reasons are behind such positive performance, particularly growing collaboration and innovation, issues which are fundamental for Europe to ensure tourism continues to play a central role in the region’s economic growth and job creation.”
Abulfas Garayev, minister of culture and tourism, Azerbaijan, said, “The international tourism policy agenda can only be effectively developed via intensive and international cooperation among tourism stakeholders. The development of international tourism products, worldwide promotion of open skies policies, facilitation of international investments in tourism and the harmonisation of tourism standards and legislation around the globe are just some examples of the vast tourism agenda requiring continuous support from, and interaction between, national governments.”
The main short-term challenges and priorities for European Tourism identified by UNWTO member states include travel facilitation, connectivity, taxation, clustering and private-public partnerships, and the creation of favourable business environments to stimulate investment and innovation.