Europe's tourism leaders meet to promote safe restart
European members of the World Tourism Organization have met in Athens
The 66th meeting of the Commission for Europe had an unprecedented level of membership representation. It also enjoyed the highest level of political support, with the participation of the Greek Prime Minister Kriakos Mitsotakis and the Vice President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas.
The Commission met in the context of the latest UNWTO data and perspectives on international tourism, and in the context of ongoing calls for #RestartTourism coordination to support not only the sector, but also an economic and social recovery more espacious.
"Europe has the opportunity to lead the global restart of tourism, safely and responsibly," said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. "The political support we are witnessing today is proof of the relevance of tourism beyond our own sector, building trust and making societies and economies move again," he added.
Resources and technical
support The political support we are witnessing today is proof of the relevance of tourism beyond our own sector, building trust and getting societies and economies moving again.
This was shared by Prime Minister Kriakos Mitsotakis, who praised UNWTO's leadership and reaffirmed his country's commitment to directing resources towards the resumption of sustainable tourism. The Commission focused on the practical steps UNWTO is taking to guide the restart of tourism and support the millions of jobs and businesses across Europe that depend on the sector. This includes the strengthened partnership between UNWTO and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. As outlined during the meeting, the two institutions will work together to provide technical assistance designed to fuel economic recovery in several European countries, including Greece, as well as Croatia, Montenegro, Georgia, Tukey, and Turkmenistan.
Leadership and recognition
The Vice President of the European Commission also recognized the importance of tourism to the European way of life. Margaritis Schinas has previously participated in the UNWTO Global Tourism Crisis Committee, representing the European Commission as governments and public and private sector leaders work together to address the impacts of the pandemic on tourism and plan for the coordinated restart of the sector.
Greece's Tourism Minister, Host and Commission President Harry Theoharis underlined the country's strong political and practical support for UNWTO and global tourism since the beginning of the crisis. Greece, one of the world's leading tourist destinations, has been an active member of the UNWTO World Tourism Crisis Committee since the start of the pandemic. As chair of its Technical Group, Minister Theoharis has guided public and private sector leaders in crafting practical solutions to the biggest challenges facing tourism, including harmonized protocols for the safe restart of the sector, not just in Europe but around the world.
Cruises and maritime tourism
Under the leadership of the Minister, the Greek Ministry of Tourism announced the creation of the first center dedicated to measuring the sustainable development of coastal and maritime tourism in the Eastern Mediterranean, with the collaboration of UNWTO. The research and monitoring center will be based at the University of the Aegean and will collect and analyze data related to the environmental, economic and social impact of tourism.