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Proposals for a sustainable and solidarity-based tourism in Europe

Context

The European Union and the European Parliament supports the “tourism recovery” thanks to recommandations hilghliting the “sustainable tourism”. They express their willingness to promote destinations and companies for environmentally and socially responsible tourism and travel. In the future, this should result in significant European funds to relaunch this activity which generates about 10% of GDP in Europe and concerns more than 23 million jobs. This activity has been hard hit by the COVID crisis and is a harbinger of a recovery that will take a long time.

In this context, as actors of sustainable, social and solidary tourism, it is really important to contribute through concrete proposals and to participate in the debate that will take place in September, initiated by European Commission.

The social, ecological, democratic and economic issues are such that it seems to us essential that the strategy to revive tourism be coordinated at the European level and give priority to sustainability, the environment, living together and well-being
Our proposals to engage Europe towards the tourism of tomorrow are the following:

1- Encourage the development of soft or low carbon mobility:

  • 2021 will be the year of rail transport in Europe: supporting the development and operation of low carbon mobility over long and medium distances. Trains, and more specifically night trains, should be favored.
  • Support the development and operation of public transportation projects for local communities (regional trains, shuttles, buses, bicycles, car-sharing, etc.).
  • Encourage the emergence of companies offering low-carbon and soft mobility services.
  • Encourage tourism operators to acquire solutions that facilitate green mobility and collective passenger mobility: bicycle purchase, shuttle service, etc.
  • For isolated destinations, especially islands, the use of air travel would require the implementation of territorial carbon compensation.
  • Supporting the implementation of projects that promote the use of soft mobility: rehabilitation of old railway tracks, using less polluting means of transport also involves the rehabilitation of old railway tracks, bicycle paths, parking management, etc.

2- To promote the development of a sustainable tourism offer

  • Encourage European Ecolabel labelling for tourist accommodation and visitor sites. Support the development of sustainable offers: slow tourism, hiking, cycling, visits to natural areas, discovery in soft mobility, etc.
  • Support investment by operators and destinations to facilitate overall accessibility for people with disabilities.
  • Use taxation to facilitate the transformation of existing operators to make their activities more sustainable: renovation work, investments with a positive environmental impact, overhaul of the offer, etc.
  • Support the development of a display of the carbon footprint of tourist stays and offers (accommodation, sites to visit, activities, etc.) in order to provide travelers with transparent information.
  • Conduct European impact studies on the social and environmental costs generated by the various tourism sectors.

3. Engaging tourism operators in corporate social responsibility

  • Encourage the development of non-seasonal tourism, based on the other hospitality needs of the territories, to support sustainable employment at EU level.
  • Establish indicators on the carbon footprint of travel and the contribution of travel to the development of the local economy.
  • Make it mandatory to report carbon emissions for all tourism services offered by the sector’s stakeholders.
  • Integrate environmental, territorial and social aspects into the implementation of tourism development projects.
  • Evaluate in the long term the European financing dedicated to private projects but also simplify their management to facilitate access to this financing to the smallest structures.

4- Develop an inclusive tourism, which enhances the value of local products and improves the quality of life of the inhabitants of the visited destinations.

  • Supporting projects for short circuits and local consumption: agriculture, crafts, cultural creation, etc.
  • Encourage the development of offers to discover local products and creations so that tourism contributes to the strengthening of other economic sectors. Visits to farms, discovery of know-how, promotion of crafts, artistic, cultural, literary and scientific creations. Support development projects that take into account the quality of life of the inhabitants: preservation of natural areas, development of hybrid offers (for travelers and inhabitants), etc.
  • Support participatory, collaborative and cooperative projects that involve as broadly as possible the inhabitants and the people who use the destinations visited. Encourage the creation of offers or the evolution of existing operators to develop off- season tourism and diffuse tourism in the territories visited.

5- Supporting access to vacations for all and tourism as a tool for strengthening the European identity, promoting living together, peace and democracy.

  • To support departure assistance programs, especially for children and youth through the realization of stays.
  • Support investment by social tourism operators in Europe to sustainably improve their infrastructure while preserving their room for maneuver for the implementation of social programs.
  • Promote programs as well as places for exchanges and meetings between European citizens.
  • Support the development of cultural activities, guided and accompanied activities and cultural meditation to facilitate the discovery of different European cultures

First signatories : Les oiseaux de passage (France), Sardaigne en Liberté (Italie) , CETR (Espagne) – Ekitour (France ),chemin solidaires (France ),For Family Reisen (Allemagne ),Renatour (Allemagne ),Anderswo (Allemagne ),Women fair travel ( Allemagne )

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