Weyts: "Tourism has the power to change"
On November 28th the European Commission organized European Day of Tourism under the umbrella "The future of European Tourism". The speakers emphasized that the tourism sector is facing great challenges, such as digitalization, climate change and the rise of the sharing economy. In order to manage those challenges the industry asks Europe to place tourism higher on the agenda.
Minister of Tourism Ben Weyts addressed the 400 attendees about the transformation of the tourism sector from a double perspective: "Tourism has the power to change" and "Tourism has changed in recent years". Tourism and tourists change destinations and have an impact on the carrying capacity of the destination. But also the way we travel, we communicate about travel, ... is changing.
By investigating the strength of tourism from both the local community's perspective and that of the visitor, Flanders wants to take the lead in the debate about a sustainable experience of the destination. Residents must be much more involved in the tourist development of their destination. “After all, they are the most important ambassadors,” said Minister Weyts in his speech.
The European tourism sector also wants to commit itself to sustainability and responsibility. Therefore, on the European Tourism Day, the sector asked for stronger support at the European level, for instance through a separate budget line for culture or a new European tourism strategy.