In order to remain the world’s first tourist destination, Europe must respond to the shifting patterns in global tourism and capitalize on the potential of tomorrow’s outbound travel markets.
As various research results have shown, more flexible visa procedures and rules could lead to a considerable increase in trips and thus have a significant economic impact. It is essential to re-evaluate the common EU visa policy as not only a tool to address security concerns, but also to minimise the deterrence to legitimate travellers whether for leisure or professional purposes. The process and policies for obtaining visas is a key determinant in the traveller’s destination selection. To stay competitive, it is imperative that the EU’s visa policies are improved, as after all, the tourism sector currently makes a total contribution of 10% of EU GDP while supporting 1 in 9 jobs.
Europe is losing share of global tourism arrivals and its visa regimes are a contributory factor in this decline. It is within the EU decision makers’ power to change this and to improve Europe’s tourism competitiveness. In the report “Improving the Visa Regimes of European Nations to Grow Tourism” ETC quantifies the benefits to be obtained with a more efficient and open visa policy.