European Industrial Strategy launched!
On 5 May 2021, the European Commission launched the EU Industrial Strategy. The strategy includes tourism as part of the EU ecosystem and recognises the dramatic impact of the crisis on the sector.
The main objectives of the Strategy include: strengthening Single Market resilience; dealing with the EU’s strategic dependencies; and accelerating the twin transitions.
The 2020 Industrial Strategy announced actions to support the green and digital transitions of the EU industry, but the pandemic has drastically affected the speed and scale of this transformation. Therefore, the Commission outlines new measures to support the business case for the green and digital transition. Said measures include: creating transition pathways in partnership with industry, public authorities, social partners and other stakeholders; providing a regulatory framework to achieve the objectives of Europe’s Digital Decade and the ‘Fit for 55′ ambitions; providing SMEs with Sustainability Advisors and supporting data-driven business models; and investing in upskilling and reskilling to support the twin transitions.
The annual single market report accompanying the Communication dedicates a full section to tourism. It recalls some of the fundamental EU funding opportunities for the tourism sector: CRII+/ERDF/ESF/CEF; Horizon Europe; Digital Europe; Invest EU. It also mentions initiatives to help the sector overcome the crisis:
- Encourage digital transformation (through data-sharing; better access of tourism businesses to online platforms and implementation of the 2019 Regulation on platform-to-business Regulation; the role of EU tourism statistics Regulation; potential tourism dashboard).
- Options for swift adoption of visa digitalisation.
- Green transformation (e.g. renewable energy, sustainable water management); sustainability measurement frameworks (e.g. environmental footprint tracker), labels (e.g. Ecolabel); a dedicated forum for stakeholder cooperation (European Tourism Sustainability Platform); the Renovation Wave – which offers opportunities to make tourism infrastructure more energy efficient.
HOTREC welcomes a more sustainable and digital tourism sector. But defends that appropriate incentives and funding need to be provided to the hospitality sector. The current circumstances do not allow for other option.