European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism - meeting of 25 January 2017
NECSTouR fully supports the Maltese vision and particularly welcomes these important priorities. The invitees from the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union have been presented the priorities regarding transport, and tourism to the MEPs of the TRAN Committee.
Introduction of the priorities
As we know already the Maltese Presidency will give due attention to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda that was adopted in New York in September 2015. The Maltese Presidency will work towards attaining an EU vision for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, on the basis of the Commission Communication, adopted in November 2016 on the Next Steps for a sustainable European future, encompassing the economic, social, environmental dimensions of sustainable development, as well as governance, within the EU and globally.
Furthermore we know that tourism is mentioned among the priorities. The Maltese Presidency will encourage discussions on how to maintain and strengthen the EU’s market share and increase competitiveness in this sector through the improvement of the overall European tourism product in a sustainable manner. The Maltese Presidency also believes that the completion of the Digital Single Market can serve as an opportunity for the European Tourism industry to tap into new global markets while increasing intra-EU tourism. A high level conference which will bring together policy makers and stakeholders to discuss these issues will be organised during the Maltese Presidency.
The speech of Minister for Tourism, Mr. Zammit Lewis on priorities of the Maltese Presidency on aviation and tourism sector:
“Malta is the smallest member state but its economy is mostly based on tourism. Tourism is a major contributor to the economy of Europe. The presidency will encourage to increase the visibility of the European Tourism sector. To encourage more policies at EU level and which will improve the competitiveness of the European tourism product. We recognise the importance of strengthening the Single Market for the sector. A functioning single market simulates its competition, improves efficiency, raises quality, and helps reduce costs and overheads for businesses.
The European Single Market is one of the EU’s greatest achievements. The full exploitation of the Single Market and the effective development of the Digital Single Market will bring tangible benefits to our economies, businesses, and families. While removing barriers and providing excess to services for our consumers. In the past years novel technologies have brought an evolution in the way people travel. New technologies as the collaborative economy, emergence of online platforms, were revolutionise the tourism sector. Also helped to the collaborative economy to flourish. While we need to do the most of this opportunity we must also strive to ensure a level playing field for our tourism operators.
We recognise the importance of actions taken EU and international level such as EU-China Tourism Year 2018 and the European Year for Cultural Heritage. We believe that tourism is linked to culture and we must work together to improve European tourism product, and attract more tourists from third markets such as China being one of the largest outbound markets which Europe must have In order to maintain its position. The Maltese presidency considers that addressing these challenges and opportunities is essential to the improvement of competitiveness of the tourism sector at the European level. Thus the Maltese Presidency will be organising a tourism high-level conference which will be held in Malta at the end of May. This will provide an appropriate platform to discuss thematic issues to contribute to increasing the competitiveness of the European Tourism Product. Also important to affirming the importance of the Chinese tourism market with the EU bloc. We must not lose the opportunity to take a big part of this market share. In recognition of the EU-China Tourism Year we would like to organise a joint conference with the UNWTO which will bring together states and private stakeholders, operators together.
I stress the promotion of the Blue Growth Initiative as the maritime contribution towards achieving the goals of the EU2020 strategy for smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth. Seas and oceans are the drivers of the European Economy and have great potential for innovation and growth. This can create opportunities for high value added jobs which increase competitiveness of the coastal tourism sector. We should accelerate our efforts in order to address innovatively the seasonality issue so that we can take advantage of the coastal level all year round. Nautical and maritime tourism is crucial in fostering sustainable growth and jobs and the blue economy for Europe. I wish to stress the importance of the aviation sector and their connectivity which directly influences the tourism sector and our respective member states. Recognising the importance of aviation for the EU’s economy growth and jobs we are ready to provide a platform to offer the exchange of use and dialogue today’s globalised word, marks the necessity of appropriate transport connectivity for all EU citizens and businesses. While connectivity is a broad concept it remains an accessible asset for the Union. The Maltese presidency will work on this 6 months to achieve progress on the dossiers on the table in order to contribute as much as possible competitive but at the same time save aviation industry. I can also assure you that these efforts of the interest of European citizens will be made by all of my colleagues during the duration of the Maltese presidency. I take the opportunity to invite to follow our discussion in Malta and I’m also inviting you to hold a Tourism Task Force meeting in Malta during the term of our presidency. Hoping that Malta and the Maltese Presidency will serve after all as an impetus linked to more action in the tourism and aviation policy. Thank you very much for your attention.”