The 2018 EU-China Tourism Year

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The Tourism Task Force of the European Parliament (Committee TRAN – TRANSPORT AND TOURISM) had a special meeting on 27 February 2018 to analyse the tourism sector’s key results and trends in the EU in 2017 and looked at its main future challenges.

MEPs exchanged views on the positive and challenging implications of the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year, officially launched in Venice, IT, in January. This year will be the occasion to develop mutual relations and initiatives in the tourism sector, and EU will be “guest of honour” in all tourism fairs in China, in order to attract more tourism flows from China to the European countries. All these initiatives will be illustrated on the website of the year . Other Asia’s countries, as India, are considered the future markets where to “sell” European destinations.

Eurostat presented its latest statistical data (2016) in relation to tourism in the European Union (EU). Tourism plays an important role in the EU because of its economic and employment potential, as well as its social and environmental implications, and the tourism statistics are not only used to monitor the EU’s tourism policies but also its regional and sustainable development policies. 

The data (provided by Member States) show that tourism sector resists to the economic crisis and numbers of arrivals are increasing.

Main statistical findings show that :

  • One third of all the bed places in the EU-28 are concentrated in France and Italy;
  • More than half (55.7 %) of the total nights spent by non-residents in the EU-28 were spent in Spain, Italy, France and the United Kingdom;
  • 62% of the EU residents took part in tourism, making 1.2 million trips;
  • Residents of Germany and the United Kingdom spent more than half of the total number of nights spent abroad by EU-28 residents;
  • Germans were the biggest spenders on international travel.

All information about statistics are available on the Commission’s website:

Download the data from 2017 here.

The debate among the MEPs  celebrate the positive results but also mention the need to well manage the flows.


Future plans for Tourism in Europe

The European Comission DG Growth presented its future plans for the tourism sector, connected with the 2018 European Year of Culture and several initiatives in collaboration with Unesco, the future initiative ‘European capital of smart tourism’ , the COSME program to support creative tourism, youth and women in tourism enterprises, the need of engagement on security and information of travellers, and to increase innovation and digitalisation in the sector.

MEPs met also Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, the new Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) since 1 January 2018 after being elected by the 22nd Session of UNWTO General Assembly.