The main objectives of this consultation were twofold: better identify the key present and future challenges and opportunities for the European tourism industry and to help revising, if necessary, the Action Plan for the sector put forward by the European Commission in 2010. The consultation received altogether 305 responses (EUFED provided its feedback as well). Full results of the survey you can find here.
Geographically almost all participants in survey are from EU (296; 97%) and just 9 answers from the EU Overseas Territories and extra-EU countries (Switzerland, Norway).
Main findings of the consultation are the following:
- The three main challenges identified by the respondents are seasonality, tourism related taxation and difficulty to keep skilled staff. Market competition is also of great concern for the players in tourism, the participants pointing out the growing request for new and customised products together with growing competition from non-EU destinations.
- New opportunities to reinvigorate the tourism sector and according to the participants those likely to be the most efficient are: the increased use of IT developments (e-commerce), repositioning on the senior, family, domestic markets and on tourists from non EU-developed (Japan) and emerging economies (China, Brazil, India, Russia). These opportunities could be best materialised through: developing new products and services, increasing the quality of existing ones, improving the website's content and its efficiency together with developing new marketing approaches (e.g. social networks).
- Participants highlighted the importance of EU intervention to support European product development and promotion together with investment in infrastructures, networking and training.
- With regards to the bargaining power of respondents in the business relationship with their suppliers and customers, almost half of respondents consider that generally the negotiation with the their main suppliers or customers is done on equal footing (43%-49%) i.e. they do not have to accept suppliers' terms or impose their terms to suppliers.
- The best placed actors in the industry’s value chain in terms of prosperity and bargaining power, at present is ACCOMMODATION and ON LINE BOOKING COMPANIES. On the 2nd and 3rd places we find ATTRACTIONS and RESTAURANTS. The "middle man" of the tourism industry (TRAVEL AGENCIES and TO) is considered in the smallest degree as a winner. In future ON LINE BOOKING COMPANIES will perform much better than ACCOMODATION according to respondents view and closely followed by ATTRACTIONS.
- Respondents stress also the importance to ensure the development of a sustainable and responsible tourism. The concept of "smart destination" should be central in destination development by joining the forces of sustainability, experiential tourism and appropriate use of natural resources with the new technologies.
- EU should promote mainly initiatives to improve the quality standards of services in tourism. Facilitation of visa procedures comes second but very close as importance followed by the need of having agreements in tourism with non-EU countries.
- EU's priorities in tourism must focus on areas where added value can be achieved by EU level actions. The diverse nature of tourism services often makes them best regulated nationally, regionally and locally rather than at European level and any proposed European regulations and standards affecting tourism products and services should be the subject of proper consultation with the stakeholders.
The results of this consultation will provide key elements for the preparation of a set of common actions for the European Tourism Strategy in 2015-2020.