For the October 2014 Tourism Around Europe newsletter, the first one with the new European Commission after the European Election in May 2014, we had the pleasure to interview the MEP Michael Cramer, Chair of the Committee on Trasport and Tourism at the European Parliament. He speaks about his vision about European tourism, the priorities for sustainable and responsible tourism in Europe, the cooperation as principle of European Parliament, the importance of stakeholders and NGOs and the key actions and challenges of the Committee on Trasport and Tourism for the period 2014-2020.
What is your vision of the European tourism?
As we all know, tourism can kill tourism. That is why I am convinced that only sustainable tourism can bring Europe ahead. One does not necessarily need to travel far and fast in order to find recreation. My vision of European tourism therefore is the one that makes use of our continents special and diverse characteristics.
Which are, from your point of view, the priorities for sustainable and responsible tourism in Europe?
In earlier times tourists, who travelled by bicycle were seen as poor people in whom the tourism businesses would not need to invest. Nowadays we know that cyclists spend in average more than persons travelling by car, during their holidays (apart from maybe the fuel).
It is just an example, but it clearly shows that there is not only an environmental but also an economical interest to focus on slow tourism that takes into account local specialties and needs, such as the Iron Curtain Trail – EuroVelo 13.
What is the approach you wish to give as Chair of the Tourism and Transport Committee? In particular, will you work in cooperation with other EP Committees, EU institutions, and stakeholders?
Cooperation is one of our main principles in the European Parliament. As tourism involves different Directorates General of the European Commission and Committees in the European Parliament, this principle is the basis of our work.
Obviously stakeholders, ranging from the tourism industry to NGOs are important partners as well.
Will the European Parliament’s “Tourism Task Force” still be in place? If yes, do you have already an activity plan?
Tourism will still play an important role in the work of the Committee for Transport and Tourism. The intention is to include tourism issues in a more formal way in the work of the committee. Further decisions are yet to be taken. The last task force has set a good basis for our further work on these issues.
Which are the key actions and the challenges for the agenda of the Committee for Transport and Tourism for the period 2014-2020?
After the hearing of Commissioner designate Violeta Bulc and the adoption of the Commission in general we will finally be able to restart our work. In the Committee of Transport and Tourism a lot of technical matters will be discussed. In regard to tourism the directives on package travel and passenger rights will be relevant, amongst other issues.