Live from Brussels – Issue 115
The last two months have been a momentous time for HOTREC and its membership. On 26-27 April 2023, we welcomed our members – along with government officials and high-level speakers – to the beautiful island of Tenerife, Spain, at our 86th General Assembly. The event has been a terrific opportunity to understand current trends in European tourism and hospitality and analyse the next steps to help the industry thrive. Delegates in Tenerife had the pleasure to welcome two new national associations to the HOTREC membership: the Portuguese Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism (APHORT) and the Armenian Hotel Association (AHA). Our General Assembly also served as a platform to reflect on the priorities of the upcoming Spanish Presidency of the EU and advance our main asks.
But that is not all. On 5 May, we were thrilled to meet in Brussels with EU officials and many industry partners to celebrate the European Tourism Day. The conference, which focused on analysing the implementation status of the Transition Pathway for Tourism, highlighted the industry’s strong show of resilience and adaptability during the pandemic and stressed the need to move forward in the green and digital transition.
The latest numbers confirm it: according to recently published stats by the European Travel Commission, the tourism industry in Europe continues to regain ground. Nonetheless, it is critical to acknowledge the current challenges we are facing so that we can tackle them and save many businesses that are still at risk of permanent closure – especially the many SMEs that make up our industry.
Amidst these challenges, sustainability remains a crucial focus for the European hospitality industry: implementing sustainable practices (e.g., by increasing the energy efficiency of establishments) is essential for companies in the sector to remain competitive. But how do we clearly define these practices? In this issue, we had the pleasure to interview Ms Emmanuelle Maire, Head of Unit at the European Commission (DG ENV), to explore and discuss ‘greenwashing’ and the proposed Green Claims Directive.
Welcoming digitalisation and innovation will also be crucial for tourism and hospitality businesses. In this regard, HOTREC recently welcomed the full application of the Digital Markets Act (2 May) and strongly supported the Commission’s proposal on VAT in the digital age. You can find our views on tax collection for Short-Term Rental accommodations in our recently published position paper.
To conclude, the 9th of May marked another meaningful starting point for our sector. On the occasion of Europe Day, the European Commission officially launched the European Year of Skills. If we want to ace the digital and green transition and make sure that the industry can continue being an invaluable pillar of the European economy, we need the right people with the right skills. To this end, we count on numerous initiatives by the EU Institutions to help upskill & reskill our workforce and face the industry’s labour shortage.
Stay tuned and enjoy your reading!