“Sustainable and responsible tourism as a contributor to quality of life” was the theme of the 2011 edition of the European Tourism Stakeholder Conference, held in Budapest on 12 and 13 May. During the meeting, organised by the Hungarian Presidency and the European Commission, european experts, stakeholders, tour operators discussed about health, wellness and medical tourism, and about the tour operators’ entrepreneurial responsibility. Conference sessions were dedicated to the the best practices in these fields.
European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani also took part in the conference and presented the last Eurobarometer survey on the attitudes of Europeans towards tourism. According to this study, tourism sector has recovered from economic crisis. “The fact that 58% of EU residents – said Tajani – are opting to enjoy their holidays in Europe highlights that, generally, the tourism industry is on its way to recovery and becoming a growth industry once again.”
Among the most relevant findings of the new Eurobarometer survey there are:
• The most popular choices: Italy was the most frequently mentioned planned holiday destination for 2011 (11.5%). Spain came second with 8.6% followed by France (8.2%). 23% of EU residents have not decided yet where to spend their holidays.
• Continuing trend towards discovering Europe and the home country: In 2011 58% of Europeans plan to spend their holidays in their own country or in another EU country.
• Increasing appetite for travelling: Almost three-quarters of (73% vs 69% last year) EU citizens travelled for leisure or business in 2010. The top five travellers are the residents of Finland (89%), Denmark (87%), the Netherlands, Sweden (both 87%), Luxembourg (85%) and Norway (84%).
• “Local attractiveness” matters: 32 % named it as the major consideration when choosing holiday destinations, followed by “cultural heritage” (27%) and “entertainment possibilities” (14 %).
• Seeking “rest and recreation” was the main motivation for over a third of the leisure travellers (36%), followed by “sun and beach” (18%) and “visiting friends and relatives” (17%).
• Arranging their holidays individually: over half of EU citizens organised their main holidays themselves in 2010 (57%); this is even more popular in the candidate countries Turkey (80%), Iceland (79%) and Croatia (78%).