European Agenda for Tourism 2030 sets an ambitious sustainability vision

Last december, the Council of the European Union adopted the European Agenda for Tourism 2030, following the Commission’s Transition Pathway for Tourism, and developing a work plan with actions to be taken by the EU Member States, the Commission, as well as the tourism ecosystem.

In the agenda, the EU Council develops its vision for the future, while reminding that before the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU tourism ecosystem represented 15.8 % of employment, and that over 99 % of the economic actors of this ecosystem are micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. The agenda comes with five priorities: Enabling policy framework and governance, Green transition, Digital transition, Resilience and inclusion, Skills and support for transition.

The Green transition priority area is itself divided in three priority topics. The first key topic is improving circularity of tourism services, with the goal of reducing the environmental footprint of tourism services. To do so, the Commission and Member States will be in charge of supporting tourism services to reduce environmental footprint, improve waste, water management, and sanitation capacity. The second key topic for the Green transition is supporting the green transition of tourism companies and SMEs, aiming at promoting greener tourism practices by increasing public demand, promoting environmental impact assessment, and supporting SMEs to reduce barriers to trade. The Commission and Member States will use green public procurement criteria for tourism-related services and support SMEs in environmentally friendly practices, using EMAS, EU Ecolabel, or third-party verified voluntary labels. The third and last key topic is research and innovation projects and pilots on circular and sustainable tourism, which striving towards promoting public-private collaboration for sustainable tourism research and innovation. Commission, Member States, Destination Marketing Organisations, and public authorities will thus support sustainable tourism models, practices, and large-scale pilots across the EU.

TouriSME is proud to have acted as a frontrunner for improving circularity of tourism along with its 65 beneficiaries. Indeed, the project focused on a wide range of practices related to waste reduction and resources efficiency, that can be found in the compendium of best practices, and in the latest report on solutions adopted by SMEs to green their activities.