Tourism ministers from European Union member states held a virtual meeting yesterday, convened by the Slovenian Presidency, to discuss the “Roadmap for the Transition of the Tourism Ecosystem by 2030”.
The meeting was attended by the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, who praised European leaders’ initiatives to protect jobs and tourism businesses, and for playing a leading role in restoring confidence in international travel by harmonising standards and protocols and introducing the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, described the use of the COVID Digital Certificate as a success. After stressing that 49 countries and territories are already connected, the minister said that “the Certificate is an instrument that generates confidence in safe travel, facilitates international mobility and strengthens the European Union’s leadership in tourism in the world”.
Maroto pointed out that the two priorities of the tourism agenda are to consolidate the recovery of tourism at European and world level and the modernisation of the sector based on sustainable and digital transformation.
To achieve these objectives, he added that “environmental protection, the preparation of the sector for future crises and the establishment of intelligent, data-based strategies at local level” are essential. He also suggested other actions that should be taken into consideration, such as adapting SMEs to a more digital ecosystem and strengthening the protection of our cultural and heritage.
Pololikashvili also provided EU ministers with an overview of UNWTO’s work in leading the sector’s response to the crisis, as well as recent achievements in promoting tourism climate action. He noted that European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas took an active role in the UNWTO Global Crisis Committee for Tourism, set up to unite the sector and provide clear and harmonised recommendations for recovery.
In February 2020, UNWTO executives visited Brussels. In addition to addressing the European Parliament, Secretary-General Pololikashvili also met with Ministers and Secretaries of State for Tourism from European countries, making clear the role the sector can play in driving inclusive growth across the region and moving towards the ambitions of the European Green Pact. More recently, UNWTO executives returned to Brussels in October, with a more detailed agenda focused on the place of tourism in the recovery and future growth of European economies and societies.
Following the informal meeting of EU Ministers responsible for tourism, the UNWTO participated in the 20th European Tourism Forum, also held in the framework of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
European tourism ministers will participate in the next UNWTO General Assembly, which will be held in Madrid (Spain) from 30 November to 3 December. It will be the first global UN meeting since the pandemic began and will focus on three key themes: Education and Youth, Rural Development and Digital Innovation.