The enlargement of the European Union, with ten new members joining in May, will help create a “more complete and coherent European tourism industry, which should be recognized in the future European Constitution,” according to the World Tourism Organization.
“With the fall of political borders and increased awareness of tourism products in the new Members of the ‘EU family,’ we may expect an increase in East-Western European tourism flows and vice-versa,” said WTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli recently. “The new countries are not just destinations, but tourism-generating markets as well.”
Welcoming the enlargement as a fresh stimulus for tourism, he pointed out that the recent success of countries such as Croatia and Bulgaria has been largely due to holidaymakers arriving from EU newcomers like Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. However, while EU programs to aid economic development in these countries already contain “significant tourism elements,” the lack of a central strategic vision on tourism policy continues to hinder the industry.
WTO has suggested the inclusion of shared competence between the Union and its member states in tourism matters in the proposed EU Constitution. “While the outcome is uncertain, the reality remains and cannot be ignored.
All existing community policies have very powerful effects on tourism destinations, and this will only be accentuated with enlargement,” said the secretary general.
Mr. Frangialli explained: “The rationale behind the enlargement of the EU is to create a broad, free, prosperous and peaceful Europe.”