European Network News

Conclusions of the e-conference

The 21st of April 2021 took place the international e-conference “Promoting a Sustainable and Social Travel in Europe” organized by European Network For Sustainable Travel and supported by Turismo de Portugal. Listened by about 480 followers, 40 university researchers and travel agencies had the opportunity to discuss with representatives of the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of Europe and Turismo de Portugal.

→ More details about the program presented.

→ Co-signatories travel agencies list.


This e-conference has led to the identification of many issues and challenges. First, it seems necessary to dissociate tourism and industry, in order to shape another picture of tourism. Industry is lifeless, relating to machines, factories, pollution, assembly lines, monotony, profit based…

Meanwhile, tourism and culture have much more in common. Both are based on people, places, stories, connections, authenticity, identity, communities, values. Instead of the “tourism industry”, we should talk about the “travel sector / dynamics / ecosystem / culture.” The tourism industry includes tourists, the travel culture includes people. People are also at the very core of the Faro Convention and the Cultural Routes in Europe, as well as sustainable travel.

Culture is the DNA of tourism motivation for visitors. Culture is not only about museums or castles: it is also about the way of living of local communities and its expression in nature. Culture must be part of tourism strategies, not only for visitor attraction measures, but also for residents well being and economic development. Sustainable Tourism can be a valuable tool to preserve tourism heritage and the way of living of local communities.

The European Network For Sustainable Tourism’s goal is to broaden the connexions between law making, research and companies. A goal achieved during this e-conference for sure and beyond : everyone wants to continue the dialogue and to deepen these connections. The European Institutions are willing to talk with us if the network is wide enough, meaning that we have to find many more to join us. Therefore, the European Network for Sustainable Travel needs to evolve from an informal network to a professional and formal cooperation.

The European Institutions and decision makers also need data. We should apply together with universities for some projects to gain this data and funds. Our involvement in these projects will also provide us with new knowledge and ideas to further develop sustainability in travel. We also need data to measure the impact and the success.

The European Year of Rail offers a great opportunity to develop a new framework of the European Rail System, helping the establishment of a climate friendly and comfortable alternative for flights in Europe:

  • same technology in every countries, enabling trains to travel throughout Europe, without changing the engine; 
  • same reservation and billing system, making the sale of train tickets as easy as for plane tickets for travel agencies, and facilitating their inclusion in tour operators’ products.

Connections between different means of transportation should also be improved. Trains, waterways and roads can be gathered to travel e.g. from Berlin to Sardinia to minimise the environmental impact of mobility.

Concerning the next steps, our six proposals are defined in the report of the European Parliament establishing an EU strategy for sustainable tourism. Its implementation will be followed by the European Network, and a discussion has been opened  with the EU commission, concerning the candidature to european programs. We will have the occasion to meet again in September for the ITACA Festival, taking place in Sardinia. 

Statistiques du Live Youtube 21th of Appril:

  • Views: 482 
  • Average viewing time: 50:25 minutes
  • Max of simultaneous views: 148
  • Number of replays: 209

Numerous debates and discussions took place in the YT live chats and in forums of other networks.