The European Union (EU) aims to enhance coastal and maritime tourism in Europe, acknowledging the potential for growth and the generation of new job opportunities in the sector, according to the Communication “European Strategy for more Growth and Jobs in Coastal and Maritime Tourism” of the European Commission.
The specific strategy outlines EU initiatives to help the coastal regions and enterprises to tackle issues related to knowledge, unstable demand, high seasonality, lack of suitable skills and innovations and difficulties of access to funding.
The 10 actions that have been proposed in this context include:
• creating a guide on the Internet for funding opportunities, especially for SMEs;
• promoting dialogue at a European level with cruise ship operators, port authorities and other stakeholders;
• highlighting the maritime dimension in tourism initiatives of the EU;
• supporting transnational and interregional cooperation as well as specific strategies;
• developing innovative management solutions using ICT;
• improving data collection relating to coastal and maritime tourism; promoting ecotourism and creating sustainable action networks;
• developing strategies aiming at fighting pollution and waste;
• launching research to improve connectivity between islands and create tailor-made strategies;
• conducting research for innovative practices which could contribute to the development of marinas.
The European Commission’s Communication was welcomed recently during an Informal Ministerial Meeting for Tourism held recently in Athens within the framework of a High Level Conference on Coastal and Maritime Tourism organized by the Greek Tourism Ministry in cooperation with the European Commission. The conference was held on the occasion of the Greek Presidency of the EU Council.
Coastal and maritime tourism is the largest maritime activity in Europe and employs almost 3.2 million people, generating a total of 183 billion euros in gross value added and representing over one third of the maritime economy.