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IAAPA meets EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

NET calls for policies that foster the competitiveness of the European tourism industry during a meeting with Commissioner Bie?kowska.


A NET delegation comprising high level representatives from the European Private Sector in Tourism met with EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Bienkowska to discuss the main challenges and opportunities within the tourism sector.

Tourism is a key contributor to Europe’s competiveness. It is the third socio-economic activity which is mainly composed of small and medium-size enterprises 91% of which are microenterprises. Tourism accounts for 9% of the EU GDP and employs 10% of the total EU workforce. This translates to 13 million jobs. It is also one of the key sectors to further contribute to economic growth and job creation, a President Juncker’s priority.

However, unless Europe is competitive in terms of tax and regulatory regime, destination appeal, perceptions of value and visa facilitation, Europe will continue to lose out. The loss is actual, not potential.

Discussions focused on NET suggestions on how to unlock the full potential of tourism to foster innovation, create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

The Commissioner’s support was sought for:

  • Continuing to raise awareness of and support the adoption of a smart Schengen visa policy to facilitate legitimate travellers from important tourism source markets, such as China, India and Russia;
  • Adoption of a well-functioning Single Market, with special focus on the Digital Single Market;
  • The simplification and streamlining of the regulatory framework for tourism, in particular as regards taxation. Avoid proliferation of taxes at various levels, which render Europe excessively costly and uncompetitive;
  • Upgrading skills and competences across the tourism sector in order to enhance the competitiveness of companies and keep on creating jobs

Bobbejaanland CEO Roland Kleve, who attended the meeting on behalf of IAAPA Europe, commented:

 “It has been a great interactive meeting, and Commissioner Bienkowska was open to learn about our industry. Concerns were shared with her in order to work on potential solutions for the future. Our leisure industry is strongly growing in Europe and we are confident that with the cooperation of Governments and the European Union we will continue to contribute to a better EU economic environment.”



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