Tourism has an enormous capacity to contribute to Europe’s emergence from the economic crisis.
However, seasonality and a lack of new, innovative concepts keep Europe from harvesting the full potential for growth and jobs of this important sector and its rich and diverse destinations. Coastal and maritime tourism is of particular importance as it is the largest single maritime economic activity and the major sub-sector of the tourism industry, and can significantly increase its already highly valuable contribution to the European economy. Nonetheless, costal and maritime tourism also faces numerous challenges, including the need to extend the tourism season, increasing competition from non-European destinations and sustainability concerns. These two themes, seasonality and coastal and maritime tourism, are being discussed today in Brussels during the 2012 edition of European Tourism Day. On this occasion, European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, stressed the need for an all-season European tourism industry. The promotion of coastal and maritime tourism in Europe is part of the Commission’s Blue Growth initiative (IP/12/955) proposed by Commissioner Maria Damanaki, in charge of Maritime Affairs and fisheries. The Blue Growth initiative identifies policy areas where Europe’s oceans and seas can substantially and sustainably contribute to economic growth and employment, in line with Europe 2020 strategy.