Two MOSES members, Dr Stephen Hynes and Dr Daniel Norton from NUI Galway, attended the Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas Intergroup of the European Parliament (SEARICA) webinar entitled “Towards Sustainable Tourism in the Maritime and Coastal Regions of Europe: Perspectives on the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis and beyond” on the 7th July 2020. The webinar focused on the dire effects of the Covid-19 crisis is having across the EU with particular emphasis on islands and remote coastal regions that are economically more dependent on the tourism sector. For the coastal and island regions, tourism accounts for as much as 30-40% of GDP compared to the EU as a whole where tourism accounts for nearly 10% of EU GDP in 2019. The Covid-19 induced travel restrictions are expected to see a 20-30% decrease in tourism activity across Europe with international travel down by 60-80%.
The response of the EU to the Covid-19 crises in the short to medium term was noted by many speakers with Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar, MEP Vice-Chair of the Intergroup responsible for Outermost Regions, calling for a “Marshall plan on tourism” to support the regions particularly affected. In the longer term, however, all speakers recognised that there was a need to ensure a move towards a more sustainable tourism model in Europe.
This was highlighted by Tonino Picula, MEP Chair of SEARICA who noted that European Parliament (EP) in its Resolution on tourism and transport of 15 June was the first step in the development of a new “European Agenda for Tourism 2050” with sustainability at its core. The need to place the EU tourism sector on a sustainable pathway is one of the strands of the research being undertaken by the MOSES project. NUI Galway is undertaking work on a case study under work package 7 that is identifying guidelines for transitioning to a sustainable pathway for coastal tourism trails. In another case study in work package 7, Universidad del Pais Vasco is modelling tourism mobility and tourist flows across the Atlantic Arc region. The outputs of this work will help to contribute to a sustainable European Agenda for Tourism 2050. More information on the webinar can be found here: http://www.searica.eu/documents/category/57-documents-of-the-event-7-july-2020