Tourism is a major economic activity in the European Union with a big impact on economic growth, employment, and social development. However, it faces several challenges and is now transitioning to become greener, more digital and more resilient. To discuss these various challenges and find solutions together with tourism stakeholders, the European Commission has launched several communication initiatives, be it awards to reward exemplary cities across Europe, partnerships to promote Europe as a destination or the organisation of various events.
European Capital of Smart Tourism
The European Capital of Smart Tourism recognises outstanding achievements in smart tourism in European cities. Smart tourism responds to new challenges and demands in a fast-changing sector, including the evolution of digital tools, products and services, equal opportunity and access for all visitors, sustainable development of the local area, and support to creative industries, local talent and heritage. See the European Capital of Smart Tourism website.
European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN)
Since 2007, the European Commission has supported EU countries in rewarding non-traditional, emerging sustainable tourism destinations in Europe through the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) award. The initiative encourages sustainable tourism destination management models across Europe by selecting and promoting EDEN destinations. See the European Destinations of Excellence website.
Promoting destination Europe
To enhance the visibility of Europe as a tourist destination and increase international tourist arrivals, the European Commission undertakes a wide range of communication and promotion activities. In addition to events and awards, the Commission developed a close link with the European Travel Commission (ETC), a non-profit organisation promoting Europe as an international tourist destination, in particular to non-EU countries.
The ETC gathers 34 European national tourism organisations from 33 European Countries. Since 2012, the Commission has co-financed the marketing and promotion of ‘Destination Europe’ via dedicated annual grants, notably through a joint promotion platform. It is responsible for VisitEurope.com.
As an example of activities for promoting ‘Destination Europe’ and of this collaboration, the Commission mandated the ETC to play a central role in cooperative marketing campaigns during the EU-China Tourism year in 2018.
European Tourism Forum
The European Tourism Forum (ETF) is an annual event co-organised with the EU country that holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the second half of the calendar year. The forum’s objectives are political and often linked to an informal meeting of ministers from EU countries responsible for tourism. The Presidency may also consider other high-level tourism events (e.g. Directorate-General meetings).
- ETF 2022 – 15 November 2022: Organised in Prague by the Czech Presidency, focusing on ‘the Package Travel Directive, the short-term rentals and the implementation of the transition pathway for tourism’
- ETF 2021 – 17 November 2021: Organised online due to the Covid-19 pandemic by the Slovenian Presidency, focusing on ‘the EU tourism industry and destinations on the way to sustainable and digital transitions’
- ETF 2020 – 22 October 2020: Co-organised online due to the Covid-19 pandemic with the German Presidency, focusing on ‘future prospects for the tourism sector – ways to recover from the coronavirus crisis and develop a robust tourism industry’
European Tourism Day
The European Tourism Day (ETD) is an annual event organised by the European Commission during which stakeholders can discuss specific themes, usually based on current policy priorities.
Please note that the links to older ETD editions lead to archived pages, which are visible but often contain non-functional links themselves.
- ETD 2018 – 7 November 2018: ‘The renewed EU industrial policy strategy: making EU tourism stronger in a new industrial era’
- ETD 2017 – 28 November 2017: ‘The future of tourism’
- ETD 2016 – 29 November 2017: ‘Enhancing synergies between tourism and cultural and creative industries. Innovative solutions as the driver for jobs and growth’
- ETD 2015 – 16 December 2015: Topics for discussion included digitalisation, interconnectivity, sustainability and responsibility, accessibility, and governance
- ETD 2014 – 1 December 2014: ‘Key challenges for the future of European tourism’
- ETD 2013: – 3 April 2013: ‘Accessible Tourism in Europe’
- ETD 2012 – 27 September 2012: ‘Seasonality – Maritime and Coastal Tourism’
Tourism Spotlight event – EU Industry Days 2022
As part of the EU Industry Days 2022, the Commission organised a tourism spotlight event, as the tourism ecosystem was the first to have its transition pathway published. We presented the tourism transition pathway to stakeholders and launched a call for commitments in view of its co-implementation.
See the EU Industry Days 2022 tourism spotlight event.
European Tourism Convention – 12 October 2020
The European Tourism Convention initiated a dialogue on sustainable recovery and strategic orientations for the tourism of tomorrow, delivering several documents, reports and outcomes.