C 61/14 EN 14.3.2003Official Journal ofthe European Union
Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the ‘Commission Communication to theCouncil, the European Parliament,the Economic and SocialCommittee and the Committee of theRegionson Working together for the future of European tourism’
(2003/C 61/03)On 15 November 2001, the European Commission decided to consult the Economic and SocialCommittee, under Article 362 of the Treaty establishing the European Community on the above-mentionned proposal.The Section for the Single Market, Production and Consumption, which was responsible for preparingthe Committee’s work on the subject, adopted its opinion on 11 September 2002. The rapporteur wasMr Liverani.At its 393rd Plenary Session (meeting of 18 September 2002), the Economic and Social Committeeadopted the following opinion with 123 votes in favour and two abstentions.1.
General background: observations on the concept of proximity
1.1. Recent events and the international climate of height-ened tension in ‘high risk’ areas of the worldsince the terroristattacks of 11 September have provided a dramatic reminderof the extent to which peace, understanding and mutualrespect amongst populations and the safety of transport andpeople influence the tourist industry.1.1.1. Tourism is highly sensitive to the above values.Absence of these values leads to severe short-term effects onthe industry and long-term changes in travel and holiday habits and lifestyles.1.1.2. Tourism (for leisure and business) thrives in anatmosphere of untroubled international relations and a spiritof friendship, cooperation and exchange amongst differentpopulations and cultures.1.1.3. A deep-seated warinessis taking root in internationalrelations, generating mistrust that could irretrievably blightrelations between people and populations. It is essential toensure that deep, unbridgeable dividesdonot openup betweennorth and south or between east and west. Now is the time tobuild bridges, to revive internationalrelations and restore trustand a sense of security. This is the intelligent and effectiveresponse to international terrorism, to the criminals who havesought to sow panic and unrest in people’s daily lives.1.2. However, there is no doubt that long-distance tourismto exotic and faraway places could suffer for some time(through concernaboutair transportsafety,political instability etc.), despite early signs of an upturn. For these reasons, thepublic will favour destinations closer to home, with the addedincentive of the single currency. In this context, there is all themore reason to promote the huge range of destinations andlocal attractions that Europe has to offer. In this challengingperiod, European localtourist industries can do much to:— restore their local community’s trust in meeting andmixing with different people and cultures;— boost market confidence, both within Europe and over-seas, that the EU offers safe and peaceful holiday desti-nations;— improve the capacity of European destinations, from thelargest cities to the smallest villages, to welcome visitorsand provide suitable facilities for them;— exploit the wealth of local identities, cultural and artisticheritage, localproducts, wine and speciality-food regions,cooking and traditions, social and natural environments,landscapes, lifestyles and customs and extend the hor-izons of time and space, whilst at the same timeconferring a sense ofpeace, familiarity and reassurance;— promote employment and, more broadly, other sectorsof the economy, by developing a form of tourism thatenables visitors to find outabout localbusinesses.2.
The significance and values of tourism: new instru-ments for governing European tourism
2.1. The importance of the tourist sector for the economic,social and cultural development of Europe is now generally acknowledged. However, this has not yet been backed up by