Jim Higgins MEP for Ireland North West was this week officially appointed to the European Parliament’s new Taskforce on Tourism (TTF), which is a part of the Committee on Transport and Tourism in the Parliament.
Speaking at the TTF’s first meeting Jim Higgins said “The acceptance of the Lisbon Treaty by the Irish people in 2009 gave us Article 195 which makes tourism a European Competency. A blueprint report was written by one of my Italian Colleagues in 2010, but the job of this taskforce will be to put flesh on the bones of this document.”
Outlining his priorities for Tourism in Europe, MEP Higgins criticised the lack of coordination between EU states on Visa waiver schemes “hundreds of thousands of visitors from outside the EU cut short their visits because they have to apply to so many individual countries just to stop over for a few days. Ireland needs to put the pressure on in order to introduce new visa waiver schemes across the EU, so that visitors can more easily travel within the EU once here.”
“We need to ensure that www.visiteurope.com site is improved and made more interactive to sell Europe to the world,” added Jim Higgins.
Other ideas to be dealt with by the TFF include accommodation classification systems through common minimum criteria which should be established in close cooperation with the sector’s operators and the standardisation bodies
The Fine Gael MEP added “42 per cent of all flights in the world terminate in the EU. We have to capitalise on that. We have to get people that are coming here from other continents to stop here, and stop here for longer in order to boost the EU’s economy. The ultimate goal is to facilitate a coordinated approach for the tourism sector within the EU”