European Tourism Forum 2011: stimulating competitiveness in the European tourism sector
The 10th European Tourism Forum (ETF) was held in Krakow (Poland) from 5th to 7th October, around the theme “Stimulating competitiveness in the European Tourism Sector”. The event was organised by the Ministry of Sport and Tourism of the Republic of Poland in cooperation with the European Commission and the Municipality of Krakow within the framework of the Polish Presidency of the European Union Council.
Representatives of the tourism industry, civil society, European Institutions, national and regional authorities dealing with tourism, and international organizations attended the forum.
The ETF was organized in two panels: one discussed the consolidation of the socio-economic knowledge base for tourism while the other focused on developing innovation and ICT in tourism. The plenary session was dedicated to methods to improve the competitiveness of Europe as a tourist destination.
Participants recognized tourism as one of the most important sectors of the economy and as a means to achieve sustainable development and create new jobs opportunities. Moreover, they underlined the importance of providing a reliable and credible tool for both effective public policies and efficient business operations, as well as regional decision making.
The Forum discussed also the use of innovation and IT in strengthening competitiveness of the tourism sector; participants underlined the need to identify and disseminate best practices concerning innovation and ICT in tourism industry. Attention was paid on the multi-faceted dimension of innovation comprising: process, organization/management, marketing, governance.
After the Forum, on October, 6, the Informal Meeting of Tourism Ministers of EU Member States took place, with the participation of the European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani. The topic of the meeting was “Key Issues Concerning the Implementation of the Tourism Communication” COM(2010)352 – Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe.”
EU Ministers of Tourism discussed how to promote Europe as main destination to third countries; they focused also on actions to be taken from the European Commission to attract tourism from those countries.
Following this meeting, the European Commission and the European Travel Commission signed a Joint Declaration for cooperation in the field of tourism and the promotion of “Destination Europe”.