Euro­pean des­ti­na­tions must not re­gard each other as com­peti­tors – Tourism Min­is­ter

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Min­is­ter for Tourism Ed­ward Zam­mit Lewis said Euro­pean des­ti­na­tions must not re­gard each other as com­peti­tors but “we should col­lab­o­rate to­gether to achieve an even larger mar­ket share of in­ter­na­tional tourism”.

Ad­dress­ing the Hotrec 73rd Gen­eral Assembly on ‘The pri­or­i­ties of the Mal­tese Pres­i­dency of the EU’ today, he said it is of ut­most im­por­tance that we cre­ate en­abling mech­a­nisms for the tourism sec­tor in Europe to adapt to the evolv­ing busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, es­pe­cially by cre­at­ing tar­geted fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, in the cur­rent and fu­ture fund­ing pro­grammes, which are clearly di­rected to the tourism sec­tor.

Min­is­ter Zam­mit Lewis said that as tourism gath­ers fur­ther eco­nomic pace and rel­e­vance, pol­icy-mak­ers are also re­al­is­ing the im­por­tance of lis­ten­ing, and work­ing hand-in-hand, not only with those who in­vest, but also with those who, on a daily ba­sis work, work within this sec­tor. This perspective will lead to more op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­vest­ment and em­ploy­ment across Europe as a whole.

The Min­is­ter for Tourism noted that dur­ing the re­cent Euro­pean Tourism Fo­rum or­gan­ised by the Slo­vak EU Pres­i­dency two weeks ago, dif­fer­ent meth­ods with which the Tourism sec­tor within Europe could be made more sus­tain­able were dis­cussed. This process will also serve to face the var­i­ous chal­lenges emerg­ing from three dis­tinct fac­tors af­fect­ing our in­dus­try: First, the col­lab­o­ra­tive econ­omy; sec­ond, tax­a­tion and com­pet­i­tive­ness and, thirdly, the is­sue of digi­ti­sa­tion.

Re­gard­ing the Coun­cil of the Pres­i­dency of the Euro­pean Union to be held in Malta next year, the Min­is­ter for Tourism Zam­mit Lewis high­lighted that this will prob­a­bly be the big­gest ad­min­is­tra­tive and diplo­matic chal­lenge for us as a na­tion since Malta’s ac­ces­sion to the Union.

“In view of what Europe has been go­ing through in re­cent times, to­gether with the other mem­bers of our Trio, the fo­cus is on what unites us. In or­der to achieve this aim, we need to em­phat­i­cally put the cit­i­zen at the heart of our dis­cus­sion”, said the Min­is­ter.

“This scarcity in the cit­i­zens’ faith in the EU, often the re­sult of a lack of ef­fec­tive and timely ac­tion by Euro­pean in­sti­tu­tions – as the case of the fi­nan­cial and mi­gra­tion cri­sis – has to be­come a fo­cal point of Malta’s Pres­i­dency.”

“As an EU state where tourism is clearly our bread and but­ter, we will en­sure that tourism fea­tures within the agenda of the Mal­tese Pres­i­dency and, in this re­gard, our pri­or­i­ties are fully in synch with those of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. We will be look­ing at ways to strengthen Euro­pean tourism by en­cour­ag­ing dis­cus­sions for com­mon ac­tion plans on how to main­tain and boost the EU’s mar­ket share, through the im­prove­ment of the over­all tourism prod­uct and more ef­fec­tive pro­mo­tion and mar­ket­ing of our of­fer”.

The Min­is­ter for Tourism pointed out that de­vel­op­ments which are dom­i­nat­ing the tourism agenda within Europe and beyond in­clude the shar­ing econ­omy, dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion, con­nec­tiv­ity, sea­son­al­ity, sus­tain­abil­ity and in­vest­ment in hu­man cap­i­tal.

All th­ese de­vel­op­ments and chal­lenges will fea­ture in a high-level tourism con­fer­ence to be held dur­ing Malta’s pres­i­dency next year. This event will bring to­gether an ex­ten­sive cross-sec­tion of stake­hold­ers and will serve as a plat­form for dis­cus­sion about the fu­ture of Euro­pean tourism. This con­fer­ence will mainly tar­get the struc­ture of how Europe can, and must, adapt to evolv­ing tourism trends in or­der to main­tain and im­prove its com­pet­i­tive edge.

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