An Intergroup is a focus group comprised of MEPs from at least three different political parties, to look at a specific issue or set of issues. It will often consider legislation and convene interested parties.
“We welcome the formation of the new Intergroup on Development of European Tourism, Cultural Heritage… as it recognizes the importance of tourism to the wider European community,” read a statement signed by the representative organizations of all the major sub sectors of the tourism industry in Europe represented in the Network for the European Private Sector in Tourism (NET).
NET is a contact group of pan-European trade associations, notably CLIA (cruise lines), ECTAA (travel agents and tour operators), EFCO & HPA (camp sites, holiday parks and holiday villages), ETOA (inbound tourism), HOTREC (hotels, restaurants and cafes), IAAPA (amusement parks and attractions) and the IRU (bus, coach and taxi operators).
According to NET, whilst Europe may currently be one of the world’s largest tourism economies and is blessed with an incredibly rich and diverse cornucopia of history, culture and wondrous sights; its long term growth prospects are at the bottom of the rankings in comparison to other regions of the world, just 2.6 percent per annum GDP growth, compared with 6.7 percent for South Asia.
“Europe has the potential to be a more dynamic tourism economy, but reform is urgently needed to create a playing field that is globally competitive on regulation,” NET underlined.
The European tourism professionals stressed the need for improved administration of the issuance of visas and new measures to make trade across borders easy as well as free.
“Achieving this needs close collaboration between policy-makers and industry – a dialogue the new Intergroup is ideally placed to facilitate,” NET said.
Tourism is responsible for nine percent of Europe’s Gross Domestic Product, 22 million jobs — 10 percent of total employment.
“Of all the economic sectors, it has the greatest potential to help Europe emerge from its economic difficulties and to create jobs throughout the economy, including for the millions of young people who are currently struggling to find work,” NET said.