Two opinion documents have been recently adopted by the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) of the European Parliament: one on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Cohesion Fund and the other on the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Both opinions, presented by the rapporteur Michael Cramer, include specific references to tourism.
Regarding the Cohesion Fund, the rapporteur remarked that since the entry into force of Lisbon Treaty, tourism is explicitly defined as one of the policy areas where the EU can take action. This change need to be reflectd on legislation and funding rules: attention has to be paid on sustainable tourism and the improvement of the accessibility to tourism services for persons with reduced mobility.
According to the second opinion document concerning the ERDF and the Investment for growth and jobs goal, MEP Cramer claimed that the European strategy for tourism should seek to make the sector more competitive and should be supported by the necessary funding for the next period of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). A more explicit reference to the role of tourism under the ERDF Regulation should be made.
Cramer also argued that ERDF support is all the more relevant because tourism has a real impact on cohesion, the dynamism and attractiveness of regions, territorial development, the environment, and makes a significant contribution to growth and competitiveness in Europe. Tourism is facing a number of challenges which are fundamental to its future; provision should therefore be made for ERDF action to support measures which can help to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy and cohesion policy.
Cramer also claimed for measures to reduce the damage tourism does to natural heritage and biodiversity, fostering responsible and sustainable behaviour. The rapporteur referred to the essential role of entrepreneurism in tourism and related sectors, and urged to promote services related to new forms of environment-friendly tourism and eco-tourism, responsible tourism. He mentioned the specific opportunities of sustainable tourism projects, based on the protection of natural, cultural and historic heritage.
After months of intense activity within TRAN Committee, and after the meetings held on the 9th and 10th of July 2012, next TRAN meeting is scheduled on September, 6.