Private Sector Associations of Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain and Portugal Join Forces to Promote European Tourism
The Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Greece’s umbrella body of private tourism enterprises, has launched a working group with the respective private sector associations of Cyprus, Italy, Spain and Portugal to form the “one voice” that will aim to place tourism high on the EU’s agenda.
The initiative was announced on Tuesday during SETE’s 14th Tourism & Development Conference in Athens following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between SETE (Greece), Federturismo Confindustria (Italy), Confederação Do Turismo Português (CTP, Portugal), STEK (Cyprus) and EXCELTUR (Spain).
As it was underlined during a media briefing, Europe’s tourism industry is in need of an umbrella-like representation for the private sector on a European Union level to express the views of the industry’s enterprises in Brussels.
According to SETE’s president, Andreas Andreadis, some of the key issues to be addressed by the working group will include the “sharing economy”, taxation issues, illegal tourism accommodation, joint marketing actions, visa facilitation and Europe’s competitiveness as a global tourism destination.
It is noted that the idea for the initiative belongs to SETE.
The working group is not limited to the south part of Europe and is open to other countries.
“Our aspiration is to be clever enough to find common goals that not only we share as founding members, but that some other countries in Europe also support, in order to make our voice more strongly heard in Brussels”, said the chief executive officer of Spain’s EXCELTUR, José Luis Zoreda de la Rosa.
He underlined that common issues do not necessarily only have to be related directly to tourism sectors but also to some policies such as immigration, sustainability, education, or aspects that influence the different policies that each country has to undertake.
“We hope that some other powerful European countries (such as France, Germany and the UK) may join this initiative so that our voice may be taken even more seriously”, EXCELTUR’s CEO added.
The new working group will be chaired by Antonio Barreca, the director general of Italy’s Federturismo Confindustria, and will include one representative from each country’s private sector tourism body.
According to the chairman, the working group’s agenda is full of issues and policies that affect tourism. “We will try to create a list of priorities that we will discuss in the next three months”, Mr Barreca said.
After three months, the working group is expected to announce what actions should be taken and how all member private sector tourism bodies will cooperate to move forward.
“It is a real pleasure to witness the effort to put tourism on the political agenda”, Yolanda Perdomo, Director of UNWTO Affiliate Members Programme, UN World Tourism Organization, said during the media briefing.