Attracting new tourists flows while ensuring the protection of cultural heritage

On 17 September, Europa Nostra was invited to take part to a Roundtable on “Tourism in Europe: Attracting new flows” organised by the Tourism Task Force of the Committee on Transport and Tourism of the European Parliament.

Photo: a view of Bruges, Belgium © Laurie Neale

Photo: a view of Bruges, Belgium
© Laurie Neale

“It is estimated that more than 50% of tourist activity in Europe is driven by cultural and natural heritage. Therefore sustainable tourism requires preservation of cultural and natural heritage resources which are crucial for its development and for attracting new flows” stressed Rodolphe de Looz-Corswarem, Council member of Europa Nostra and President of the European Historic Houses Association.

Speaking on behalf of Europa Nostra, Rodolphe de Looz-Corswarem insisted on the importance to find the right balance between encouraging the expansion of cultural tourism and safeguarding European heritage by keeping the volume of tourists to heritage travel destinations areas within optimum sustainable limits, before mentioning some concrete avenues to attract new tourist flows while ensuring the protection of cultural heritage.

The other invited experts were John Kester, UN World Tourism Organisation, Itziar Epalza Urquiaga, Vice Minister of Trade and Tourism Basque Government, Armando Branchini, European Cultural and Creative Alliance, and Nick Greefield, European Tour Operators Association.

Europe is the world’s no. 1 tourist destination, with the highest density and diversity of tourist attractions. As a result, the tourist industry has become a key sector of the European economy, generating over 10% of EU GDP (directly or indirectly) and employing 9.7m citizens in 1.8m businesses.

Pedro Ortun Silvan, Director DG Enterprise and Industry, described the policy and initiatives of the European Commission to maintain Europe as world’s top tourist quality destination, before an open discussion with the Members of the Parliament.

The EP Tourism Task Force aims to play an important role in supporting the increase of the levels of cooperation among the different players

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