European tourism enjoying ‘tremendous recovery’, Brussels summit hears

 Friday, June 30, 2023 

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The European tourism sector looks set for another bumper year, the inaugural Destination Europe Summit in Brussels told.

Pent-up demand for tourism is continuing to fuel a boom for the travel industry despite a rise in holiday prices, the inaugural Destination Europe Summit in Brussels has heard.

The summit brings together tourism industry leaders and politicians from across Europe and beyond.

Bookings for this summer season are up again as the bounce back from COVID-19 confinement continues.

And while the war in Ukraine continues to cast a shadow over the continent, its impact on the travel sector looks to be contained.

Making it easier to get to Europe

Making it easier for people to get to Europe was one of the key themes at this inaugural summit.

Improving connectivity, addressing labour shortages and faster implementation of the EU’s new digital visa systems to make travel more seamless were key demands from experts.

Luís Araújo, the former president of Turismo de Portugal said if they do not tackle these situations, that has to do with air connectivity, with how seamless their experience, how seamless their booking is of any of their experiences in Europe, then they will never be competitive and they will lose to other destinations.

Building back sustainably

In addition to the post-pandemic recovery, another key theme uppermost on people’s minds was how to build back more sustainably- something consumers also increasingly appear to want.

Better cross-border rail as an alternative to flying is increasingly seen as a way to help countries improve connectivity in a sustainable way.

Björn Bender, President & CEO at Rail Europe sees a huge chance for night trains in Europe.

Specifically when they are talking about, relations between 800 and up to 1500 kilometres and this will also give them a new possibility for how they travel in Europe.

Industry experts also discussed how the EU’s green transition will impact the sector. Commissioner Breton said that there are no options.

But also, and he keeps saying this very often, it’s not while restricting their movement or their consumption that they will get green.

But it is thanks to innovation, thanks to technology, thanks to science that they will do it.

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