International Trade and Tourism - A Global Agenda for Sustainable Development (own-initiative opinion)

EESC opinion: International Trade and Tourism - A Global Agenda for Sustainable Development (own-initiative opinion)

Key points:

As tourism is growing at a faster rate than the overall economy, it is clearly an important driver of employment and economic growth. As such, tourism and international trade are determining factors in achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs). The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) therefore proposes that the stakeholders responsible in the economic sectors concerned be explicitly involved in achieving the SDGs through relevant statements of commitment.

The EESC draws attention to the importance of financial planning for implementing political priorities and underlines the significance of budgets as the most efficient means of implementing policy. It therefore calls for consideration to be given to the importance of tourism, not least by revising the latest proposal for the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF) to incorporate a separate budget line for tourism.

The relatively low barriers to market entry in the tourism sector must not be economically and socially detrimental to those working in tourism. The EESC also calls for measures to harmonise or recognise training, professional standards and vocational qualifications in tourism, that consolidate efforts to introduce a European vocational qualifications passport and promote lifelong learning in tourism.

Since it is clear that international tourism, aside from being important economically, also plays a significant role in promoting understanding among peoples and breaking down prejudices and therefore strongly supports the external impact of the EU, particular forms of tourism such as cultural tourism and social tourism should be supported through specific measures. Furthermore, the EESC draws attention to the need to promote tourism relating to health, sport, agriculture, the environment and other.

The sustainability of tourism is also heavily dependent on choosing forms of transport that are as environmentally friendly as possible; particular attention should therefore be paid to the prudent and responsible use of means of transport.