The objective was to identify EU, national, regional and local policy initiatives (legislative or not) and administrative practices, where there may still be scope for further reduction of the burden for SMEs, and in particular for micro businesses, as well as for EU tourism destinations, public administrations and tourists visiting EU Member States from within or outside Europe.
It can be concluded that stakeholders' views about the existing regulatory and administrative framework show great variety, depending on their general interests, but also on the administrative level under examination (EU, national, regional or local).
From some responses, it appeared clear that knowledge about the appropriate level of regulation can be more difficult for those stakeholders who are less aware of the EU regulatory environment (e.g. citizens and some individual businesses). These stakeholders being the "end users" of the regulatory framework and administrative practices form their perception on the basis of their direct experiences at local level, thus providing an opportunity to obtain some interesting views on how EU or other level legislation affect the smaller players of the tourism value chain. For example, individuals' responses consistently signalled "lack of protection" at all regulatory levels. However, it is regrettable that the number of respondents for these categories is low, as well as it is the case for the category "public administrations". On the other hand, all the most important European associations and federation representing the industry and the trade unions at European level submitted their replies and/or position papers. It is interesting that, in many cases, the respondents did not necessarily see the existing regulatory framework as a burden, but rather highlighted problems in the non-compliance with existing rules or in the lack of clarity and duplication of existing rules, as well as in the potential diverse interpretation at lower regulatory levels. Nevertheless, it is important to note that it was especially for SMEs that many of the regulatory and administrative areas are signalled as too burdensome to comply with or impractical.
In case of several areas, many stakeholders called for harmonisation of the rules at EU level to facilitate compliance in a cross-border context or requested guidance on the implementation of certain existing rules. On the other hand, however, other stakeholder groups requested the absence of public intervention in certain specific policy areas.
As for the selected tourism-specific regulatory areas complexity and lack of protection seemed to be the main issues signalled at all regulatory levels. In this specific focus group of regulatory areas, redress and settlement of consumer disputes seemed to be the most marked for it complexity at all levels.
It is important to underline that this consultation was of a rather general nature and did not refer to specific pieces of legislation or administrative practices under the selected regulatory areas, leaving it open to the respondents to specify these if they wished so.
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