Fresh tourism data is vital for EU industry and policy makers – Sean Kelly MEP
The European Parliament is today considering a proposal which would enable the provision of vital data for entrepreneurs in the tourism sector and ultimately support the EU’s goal of strengthening the multi-billion industry. Sean Kelly MEP explains: “Stakeholders have highlighted the need for a revised overview of changing tourism trends in Ireland and abroad. If today’s amendment to the legal framework is approved, it will allow for greater future availability of more relevant, detailed tourism statistics.”
“Tourism is invaluable to Ireland and to the EU. Some 1.8 million businesses are involved in tourism across Europe, primarily SMEs, providing approximately 9.7 million jobs. The European tourism industry is thought to generate over 5 per cent of EU GDP, with 370 million international tourist arrivals recorded in 2008 alone. Mr Kelly said SMEs in Ireland and entrepreneurs who are evaluating the tourism sector require the most recent statistics in order to initiate effective business plans.
While the EU remains the number one holiday destination worldwide, it now has to compete with emerging markets like Brazil, Russia, India and China. In order to maintain its number one ranking, the EU must address challenges facing tourism such as increasing global competition, seasonal tourism and the rise of web-based holiday browsing by prospective tourists.
“Updated information is vital so that policy makers at European and national levels can create informed future strategies. Currently, an EU directive requires Member States to provide data on the industry which is compiled by Eurostat, but the type of information and the way it is organised needs to be reviewed. It is hoped that in future, statistics will examine more recent trend increases such as mini-breaks or the use of the internet for booking holidays. The European Parliament will today consider the approval of a regulation which would allow the legal framework to be updated and optimised for European statistics on tourism.”