Representatives of T4BS Core Team have participated in the online seminar organised in the framework of activities of the Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas Intergroup of the European Parliament, with the support of the CPMR, and the Travel Foundation. It addressed the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the Maritime & Coastal Tourism sector in regions of different sea basing of Europe and discussed on next steps towards a fully smart and gradual recovery.
The workshop built on the reflections for the forthcoming implementation of the new EU Green Deal in relation to tourism and at the same time on the perspectives of the new EU Multiannual Financial Framework, currently under negotiation. The webinar focused on the livelihood impacts of the crisis, and prospects for employment and recovery of business activities in the Coastal and Maritime tourism regions. At the same time, it addressed long-term sustainability issues, the integration of environmental impact management as well as decarbonization methods and measures for the new policy design for tourism management, which leverages multilevel governance dynamics towards a truly smart and sustainable recovery.
The President of the SEARICA and the Secretary General of CPMR opened the meeting making a note on the current situation of the tourism sector and the opportunities that could arise after the pandemic. The first section was dedicated on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the Coastal and Maritime Tourism Sector. Both, the Vice Chair of SEARICA in charge of Tourism and the Mediterranean and the Greek Deputy Minister of Tourism referred to the importance to consider the specific needs of insularity and the role that islands could play towards the Green Deal. At the same time, they highlighted the islands’ specificities that should be taken under consideration for their recovery, as they are highly dependent on tourism.
Presentations of the second session were prepared by representatives from the Islands Commission, Atlantic Arc Commission, Intermediterranean Commission, Balkan and Black Sea Commission, and the North Sea Commission. The following discussion was enriched with several interventions from spokespersons of notable institutions, such as Network of European regions for competitive and sustainable tourism (NECSTouR), World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), and CPMR Intermediterranean Commission. The debate focused on the future of tourism after the pandemic, the need for smart data and collaboration, the development of new skills, investments in sustainable outcomes, safety, possible innovative models in tourism, and common global priorities. Among them prioritizing needs and concerns of residents is prominent, as it ensures opportunities for local people while resources and biodiversity, that communities depend on, are protected. In line with this paradigm shift, the Tourism 4.0 initiative is putting local inhabitants, their quality of life and digitalisation in the centre of the tourism ecosystem.