PES tourism ministers’ declaration: a way forward to relaunch European tourism

02/07/2020

Maria Reyes Maroto Illera

Chair of the PES Tourism Ministerial Network and Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Spain, Maria Reyes Maroto Illera.

Tourism ministers from Spain, Italy, Malta and Portugal today signed a joint declaration calling for a coordinated relaunch of European tourism which boosts the industry and guarantees the health and safety of tourists and local populations.

The ministers resolved to safeguard the future of European tourism, calling for the new recovery instrument - Next Generation EU - to support the sector and the communities and regions affected by this crisis.

After adopting the declaration, Maria Reyes Maroto Illera, Spain’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism and Chair of the PES Tourism Ministerial Network, said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to have serious social-economic consequences for the tourism sector. It is time to ensure that this industry, its businesses and its workers receive the support needed for the safe and sustainable recovery of European tourism. This is particularly true for the countries, islands and other peripheral areas, whose economic survival often depends on tourism revenues.

“With the opening of borders and the start of the summer holidays period, we must ensure that all citizens have the opportunity to safely travel and enjoy their well-deserved summer break. In this endeavour, we need a coordinated approach with common European rules guaranteeing the safety of both workers and tourists. This how we will succeed in regaining public trust in the tourism sector to deliver quality and safe services.”

The declaration backs a non-discriminatory approach to reopening borders based on a common European process, rather than bilateral agreements. This is now especially pertinent considering the opening of borders for third-country nationals.

For citizens, the declaration backs harmonised safety rules at European level to regain public trust in quality and safe tourism. It calls for strong consumer protection and the move towards a more uniform scheme across Europe. A large communication and promotion campaign aimed at increasing the visibility of Europe as a tourist destination is also needed.

For tourism workers, the ministers strongly back the Commission’s Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE), spearheaded by Commissioners Paolo Gentiloni and Nicolas Schmit, and call for it to be implemented as soon as possible. Training must be offered to workers who either lost their job or cannot find seasonal work because of the crisis.

Representatives from the PES signed the declaration after meeting by videoconference earlier this month to discuss tourism and the COVID-19 crisis.

Tourism plays a central role in European societies. It is a driver for citizens’ wellbeing, contributing to social cohesion, employment and economic growth. Tourism accounts for more than 10% of the EU’s GDP and provides 12% of its jobs. It is one of Europe’s strongest ambassadors, promoting European culture and identity at home and abroad.

The declaration has been signed by:

  • Maria Reyes Maroto Illera, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Spain and Chair of the PES Tourism Ministerial Network
  • Dario Franceschini, Minister for Cultural Assets and Activities and Tourism, Italy
  • Julia Farrugia Portelli, Minister for Tourism & Consumer Protection, Malta
  • Rita Marques, Secretary of State for Tourism, Portugal