EU actions on nautical tourism (October 31, 2016)

Coastal and maritime tourism is an important subsector of tourism and the largest maritime activity in Europe. Employing over 3.2 million people, this sector generates a total of € 183 billion in gross value added and represents over one third of the maritime economy.

After having published the EU Competitiveness Study (first independent study focused on boating sector) in January, in recent months the European Commission has been finalising a study on the nautical tourism, recommended and strongly supported by European Boating Industry. The study, expected to be published in the upcoming weeks has been looking at some of the key areas for the boating industry, such as professional skippers’ qualifications; boat dismantling or safety equipment.

These and other actions undertaken by the European Commission, aiming to help the sector grow sustainably and provide added stimulus to Europe’s coastal regions are also a follow-up to the European Commission’s Communication on “A European Strategy for more Growth and Jobs in Coastal and Maritime Tourism” (COM (2014) 86).

Lately, another theme-related study has been prepared for the European Commission. The “Study on specific challenges for a sustainable development of coastal and maritime tourism in Europe” was conducted by a team of experts from Ecorys, S.Pro and MRAG between February 2015 and April 2016 and released recently. Three particular actions are taken up through this study:

– Identification of ways to improve island connectivity and design innovative tourism strategies for (remote) islands

– The promotion of a diversified tourism offer, including by integrating coastal and inland attractors

– Innovative practices for marina development

Some of the exogenous trends that affect coastal and maritime tourism recognised include changes in demand patterns, ageing society, an increased awareness and search for sustainability and quality, geopolitical instability in parts of the world, and a growing role of ICT (information and communication technology) as a tool for information access and benchmarking. Challenges to be addressed include seasonality of demand and dependency on specific groups of tourists, the limited carrying capacity of facilities and environment, low added value generated in parts of the sector, the need for renewed marketing approaches and the upgrading of outdated infrastructures, for which however investment capacity is limited, but also the limited economic and social returns for local communities. In addition, for islands, the connectivity to tourist origin regions, seasonality of services, as well as inter-island connectivity, pose additional challenges on the accommodation of tourism demand and the competition with other tourism regions.

You can read the full study here:

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