Sustainable tourism planning and management for European insular destinations

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On 4 November, the president of the European Economic and Social Committee took part in a forum organised jointly by the Network of the Insular Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the EU (INSULEUR) and the Evia Chamber in partnership with the EESC on: "Sustainable tourism planning and management for European insular destinations". The forum took place in Chalkida (Greece) and was an opportunity to discuss best practises and methods of managing island destinations.

The president of INSULEUR, George Benetos and the president of the EESC's TEN section, Pierre Jean Coulon took part.

During his opening speech, Mr Dassis highlighted just how important tourism was for Europe, pointing out that it made up over 10% of the economy. Moreover, the EESC has suggested that a European tourism agency be set up to involve all stakeholders, such as confederations, regions, authorities and trade unions. This agency could be a linchpin for promoting Europe around the world.

In conclusion, the EESC president also addressed the issue of climate change and how it can affect islands in particular: "Islands are vulnerable to change in their ecosystems and climate, and their resilience depends directly on the quality of policies concerning them. The EESC discussed the concept of intelligent islands - which generate sustainable local economic development and a high quality of life through excellence in many sectors key to sustainable development, such as the economy, mobility, energy, the environment, ICT, water, education and governance - in one of its opinions and suggested that the European Commission should ensure that each European policy was suitable for island regions".