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Message from Mr. Christos Papoutsis, European Commissioner for Tourism Travel and Tourism Employment on the occasion of World Tourism Day
 
 
Message from Mr. Christos Papoutsis, European Commissioner for Tourism Travel and Tourism Employment on the occasion of World Tourism Day



 September 27th 1996


On the occasion of World Tourism Day I would like to thank all those active in Tourism who, over the past year, co-operated with each other and with the European Commission in order to stress even more the importance of Tourism for Europe.

Within the European Union tourism is central to economic development and job creation. Six per cent of employment in the Union is directly attributable to tourism and numerous other jobs are indirectly dependent upon tourism activities. Tourism can provide jobs in areas where other forms of employment may not be readily available, and for groups such as women and young people who tend to experience difficulty in finding work.

Tourism is an important force in developing and strengthening international links - an instrument of peace and friendship, as well as a means for regional development.

Europe now accounts for some two-thirds of international tourist arrivals but the sector can achieve higher growth. My aim as the Member of the European Commission responsible for tourism is to help the sector become more efficient and quality conscious so as to enable Europe to maintain and build on its reputation as a first class tourist destination. But our efforts are not confined to Member States of the Union only. We are actively involved in the development of tourism related actions in non-EU Mediterranean countries and with countries of Central and Eastern Europe through our co-operation agreements.

Success in tourism requires a total focus on customer satisfaction. Quality must clearly be our watchword and improved training at all levels is central to achieving this. But for the individual tourist the first preoccupation is safety, traditionally in the course of travel but more commonly nowadays at the holiday destination; this is closely linked to the question of quality. Therefore we should all consider ways in which the safety of tourists can be improved.

Holidays are a source of pleasure and anticipation for everybody, something whose planning and recollection gives huge enjoyment throughout the year. With increasing prosperity and growing leisure-time success and growth are now well established features of the industry. But short-term success can at times have a very high price, if this is achieved at the expense of our natural and cultural heritage.

Tourism development must be sustainable in the long-term. It must be not only economically sustainable so that steady employment and incomes are provided for our peoples but also environmentally sustainable, which means preserving, in the interest of present and future generations, the assets that Man and Nature have created.

The European Commission earlier this year presented the first multi-annual programme in favour of Europe Tourism, known as PHILOXENIA. The programme is designed to help Europe's tourism industry become more competitive, primarily through greater quality. The programme will seek to increase our fund of knowledge in the field of tourism, to help improve the legislative and financial environment in favour of tourism, to raise the quality of tourism and to promote Europe as an attractive destination for overseas visitors. The programme is under active discussion by the Council of Ministers and by the European Parliament and should hopefully be adopted before the end of the year.

At the present moment, we in the European Commission are finalising our proposals for "combatting child sex tourism". We must not spare any effort in the fight against this deplorable phenomenon.

I want to give the assurance that the co-operation between the European Commission and all those involved in Tourism will continue and develop further. Only common effort can guarantee the increase of competitiveness of the European Tourist industry - an industry that deserves every support in order to preserve its current dynamism and encourage even further growth.


SPEECH/96/224

 

 

 
Ημ. Έκδοσης:27/09/1996 Share Εκτύπωση
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