NET is a network of large trade associations for the private sector in European tourism. Our purpose is to develop common goals for industry and work with policy makers and other partners to achieve them. Tourism's contribution to EU employment and GDP is crucial. It contributes more than 10% of GDP and provides c.10 million jobs largely in small and medium sized enterprises. This represents the third largest socio-economic activity in the EU. Its potential for growth will only be realised with coordinated support from policy makers and other stakeholders.
Our vision is for Europe to be:
• An attractive and sustainable destination for visitors from Europe and worldwide.
• A competitive place for tourism businesses to establish and operate.
• A strong contributor to growth and jobs.
Continued success in European tourism will require:
• An open market in services.
• A competitive fiscal environment for business and consumers.
• Continued improvement in applicable visa regimes.
• Transparency and informed choice for consumers.
• Improved infrastructure and service for visitors.
• Raised awareness of the general economic benefits of tourism.
The sector's economic contribution is at risk from competitive pressure and complacency about Europe's continued appeal. Progress is difficult because diverse local, national and EU policy priorities affect tourism. These include: visa regimes; security; taxation; consumer protection and passenger rights; jobs and growth; transport infrastructure; environmental management; energy; foreign relations; inward investment.
• Legislative, administrative and fiscal burdens inhibit performance and make EU establishment uncompetitive.
• Over-regulation impedes consumers’ choice of service providers.
• Europe welcomed 68% of global international arrivals in 1970. This fell to 51.8% in 2013 of which less than one in five came from outside the region.
• International arrivals in Asia Pacific and the Americas are growing at a faster rate.
• Service levels and product range must continue to adapt to emerging market needs.
Tourism must be an EU priority at a senior level in order to succeed. The interests of industry and policy makers must be aligned so that tourism's potential may be fulfilled. This will entail effective policy development and coordination that involves proper consultation with industry. NET exists to catalyse, encourage and support such efforts.
2014 sees the formation of a new European Commission and Parliament. Both must prioritise tourism and ensure effective policy co-ordination. There must be sufficient review of proposed EU measures to identify those that may affect tourism, and there must be proper consultation with industry on all resulting policy proposals. To this end NET makes three recommendations:
1. One of the Commission’s services should be responsible for all issues related to tourism, including policy review and industry consultation.
2. The Council of Ministers for Tourism should meet at least once during each Presidency to identify and review the impact of EU measures on tourism.
3. An Intergroup on Tourism at the European Parliament should be created. This intergroup should involve all relevant stakeholders and should monitor all political developments likely to have an impact on tourism sectors.