Recognizing the sector’s potential for sustainable growth and job creation, the strategy outlines 14 EU actions to help coastal regions and businesses tackle the challenges they face and strengthen the sector’s position as a key driver of Europe’s blue economy. These concrete actions are accompanied by a break-down of the tasks that Member States, Regions and industry stakeholders can undertake to complement the EU actions.
The proposed actions include facilitating closer cooperation and dialogue across Europe between all coastal tourism stakeholders, public-private partnerships, promoting skills and innovation, promoting ecotourism, and creating an online guide to funding opportunities to help drive investment. Member States, regional authorities and the industry will be central to the design and implementation of the actions.
Despite its undoubted potential, the sector faces a number of challenges which the strategy seeks to address. These include gaps in data and knowledge, volatile demand, high seasonality, a lack of adequate skills and innovation, and difficulties accessing financing.
The actions in the strategy focus on helping the sector overcome these obstacles and create an environment which will attract investment. At the same time, it will make the sector’s activities sustainable, preserve natural and cultural heritage, reap significant economic and environmental benefits, and help make the sector more competitive globally.
The strategy will be discussed at a conference organized with the Greek Presidency on 10 March in Athens, which will bring together authorities and businesses and other stakeholders. Implementation of the concrete actions will follow in the coming months.
According to the Commission, coastal and maritime tourism employs almost 3.2 million people, generating a total of 183 billion euros in gross value added for the EU economy, representing over one third of the maritime economy gross product.