NECSTouR Offers its Reflections on how to Balance Sustainability and Competitiveness in the European Tourism of Today

NECSTouR Offers its Reflections on how to Balance Sustainability and Competitiveness in the European Tourism of Today


NECSTouR Vice-President, Mr Jan Korthoudt - Director of Tourism at the Government of Flanders – has been invited to give the NECSTouR perspective on Competitive and Sustainable Tourism on the occasion of the Seminar “Tourism in Transition” organised on the 27th of June by the Permanent Representation of Malta to the EU in Brussels.


The aim of the event was to explore the realities of the tourism industry within a global context and the current and foreseeable challenges together with the possible opportunities.

NECSTouR animated a panel discussion on “European tourism, a quest between sustainability and competitiveness”, together with: Mr Gavin Gulia, Chairman, Malta Tourism Authority; Mr Eduardo Santander, Executive Director/CEO of the European Travel Commission; Mr Jens Zimmer Christensen, President, HOTREC; Mr Tim Fairhurst, European Tourism Association; and Mr Emmanuel Mounier, Secretary General at ETTSA.


Mr Korthoudt offered the NECSTouR initiative “Better Places to Live, Better Places to Visit” as an inspiring solution towards a possible balance between sustainability and competitiveness in the contemporary European Tourism.

The Barcelona Declaration “Better Places to Live, Better Places to Visit” advocates indeed for five principles to better balance tourism, cultural heritage and residents in the European tourism destinations.

Additionally, Mr Korthoudt underlined the relevance of the new interregional cooperation strategy that the 36 Regions members of NECSTouR recently approved to deliver rapid solutions to the common destination challenges, such as the territory preservation, managing big data and stimulating talent as drivers for the sustainability and competitiveness of the territory. 

Smart destinations, Socio-cultural balance, Skills and talent, Safety and security and Statistics – the so called “NECSTouR Five “S” of the Sustainable Tourism of Tomorrow” - are the five pillars of that NECSTouR interregional strategy 2019-2021, aiming  to turn territorial challenges into opportunities by delivering effective regional tourism policies, resulting from the Network’s knowledge exchange and its participation to European projects.

The NECSTouR priorities are strictly alligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The conference saw also the interventions - among the others - of Hon Minister Helena Dalli MP, Maltese Minister for European Affairs and Equality; Ambassador Lorenzo Vella, Deputy Permanent Representative of Malta to the EU; Ms Anna Athanasopoulou, Head of Unit – Tourism, Emerging and Creative Industries at the European Commission; Mr Gerry Muscat, Head of Division, Urban Development Division, Projects Directorate at the European Investment Bank.