The workshop was held in the background of the European Commission’s proposals for an EU economy that places competitiveness closely tied to sustainability, with the European Green Deal, the European Climate Pact, the European industrial strategy, the Circular economy action plan, the Sustainable and smart mobility strategy and, ultimately, the EU Recovery Plan serving as a roadmap towards green transition.

The discussion should contribute with concrete ideas to set a long term, sustainable, and innovative recovery of EU tourism. Workshop participants are invited to discuss mechanisms (policies and actions) in the pursuit of shared tourism policy industry goals on; i) how to address structural challenges and avoid known challenges (e.g., overtourism, seasonality), ii) how to accelerate the decarbonisation towards climate-neutrality (e.g., low carbon-intensive and smart mobility, energy efficiency), iii) how to encourage new business models for sustainable development (e.g., customer value), and iv) how to stimulate climate change mitigation and adaptation (e.g., SMEs’ tools).

Additional questions looked into how sustainable innovation (technological, organisational, and social) can become a guiding principle in the recovery and be placed at the forefront of the transition to a circular tourism economy. This would embrace the sustainable production of tourism experiences and infrastructures and promote the necessary behavioural change of consumers and the industry workforce for more sustainable consumption (e.g., waste, water, energy, biodiversity). The aim is to strengthen the common understanding of the challenges for greener holidays, and how to address them between public and private actors within the framework for multi-stakeholder partnerships, cross-sector collaborations, public-private alliances, and consumer engagement initiatives for coordinated and joint efforts.

Applicants to the workshops were asked to provide their input on the challenges, opportunities, potential actions, their timescale and actors of the “European tourism ecosystem of tomorrow”. Below you may find a selection of the received contributions.


Priority Opportunity/Challenge Description Timescale Action Relevant actors
Enhancement of sustainable destinations Challenge The enhancement of sustainable destinations is a major issue that the European Tourism Market should focus in order to create a sustainable new model for the after Covid-19 era. Medium-term Collaboration between EU-EC and Global Organizations in order to create a solid and comprehensive Sustainable Destinations Stratergy for Europe Local communities, Public authorities, SMEs, NGOs
Creation of the EU roadmap towards green transition Challenge To create concrete ideas in order to set a long term, sustainable, and innovative recovery of EU tourism via climate neutrality. Medium-term Create actions and strategy, in colaboration with global actors, to minimize the carbon intensity of tourism in Europe, supporting actions in transportation sector for decarbonization and carbon neutrality European Commission, GSTC, Transportation Sector, Public Bodies, NGO, Industry
Sustainable innovation in EU SMEs Opportunity Create initiatives via Public-Private-partnerships for sustainable innovation in SMEs, via technology transfer and R&D, focusing in de-carbonization of Tourism & Circular Economy (like zero plastic) Short-term Creat special B2B events & Awards for SMEs and especially small SMEs, only via PPPs for sustainable innovation. EU SMEs, EC, GSTC, Private Sector
Engage the tourism stakeholders in the twin transition “greening” and “digital” Opportunity Europe will only become the first climate neutral destination if the whole tourism ecosystem is committed and feels part of the European agenda. The COVID-19 is the accelerator of this transition. Short-term A one-stop shop information point “EU tourism recovery and sustainability”: European strategies, projects, good practices and opportunities.  Destinations and their value chain, Universities and research centers/Interregional networks and industry associations/the European Commission services responsible for those strategies
Deliver the roadmap towards the tourism of tomorrow covering all the aspects of a sustainable tourism experience. Challenge There is  willingness to go for sustainability but a lack of knowledge and finance to support it. Public authorities must take the lead and Europe has to set the path, coordinate the tools and actors. Medium-term Build a technical assistance programme targeting “greening” product re-orientation,  optimising existing quality programmes, certificates,  toolkits and strategies, and broader sustainability good practices by destinations and its value chain. Destinations and their value chain/Interregional networks/ Universities and research centers/ Specialised agencies/ National Authorities/The European Commission
Build a Marshall plan to finance the destinations’ transition towards sustainable tourism replying to the roadmap mentioned in priority 2. Challenge  The lack of a specific tourism instrument and low visibility across the programmes is a challenge for an SME based ecosystem in access to finance. Short-term Enable direct investment “SMEs-friendly” on sustainable destinations’ infrastructure (Energy, water, waste disposal, mobility), skills, applied technology, and inform on the available instruments, starting by the EU Green Deal Renovation Wave. European Financial Instruments managing authorities (programmes, Cohesion Instruments, etc) guided by the European Commission DG internal market.
Create a level playing field for the 4 key circular tourism economy chains (green mobility, circular accommodations and events, local food and beverage production-consumption- waste management) Opportunity Creating a clear circular economy innovation competitive playing field leads to employment, less costs for healthcare and is capable to integrate intra EU migration Medium-term Facilitate green investments (green and social bonds), harmonize taxing mechanisms, incentives and subsidies for greening SMEs in tourism, within EU member states  Financial sector, ministries of finance and economic affairs of member countries, research and knowledge institutes, larger tourism companies
Conversion of short haul flight markets towards high speed rail Challenge This is a global issue, linked to global corporate interests. In any case, within EU, a clear decision should be made to transide towards e-mobility, including large scale investments in this network Medium-term High taxes on within EU short haul flights (< 750 KMS) and invest these in e-mobility  airports, airlines, train companies, national governments, EU commission
Spatial planing for sustainable tourism Opportunity Spatial planning is the process that results with the documentation and actions that determine traffic solutions, green areas, local community lifestyle, tourist satisfaction, and overall perspective Long-term INcorporate issues of crowding, green infrastructure, green building, green areas, sustainable mobility, etc. in spatial planning processes with emphasis on transperancy and expert advice  Sptial plnners, tourism planners, environmental protection experts, arhitects, urbanists, local community representatives and NGOs
Greening tourism supply Opportunity Transport emissions for goods in tourism are significant.  Bringing production goods closer to the consumption could produce multiple benefits. Medium-term Those goods that are feasible to produce locally or regionally or nationally should be preferred in order to minimize carbon emissions, foster employment, contribute to diversification, innovation, strengthening agriculture, processing, etc. Ministries of Economy, Agriculture, DG GROW, DG Env, EU Parliament
Informed tourism governance – Sustainable tourism indicators Challenge Countries have difficulties comparing data that relate to sustainability of tourism and EC/EP is not providing strong support regardless on efforts like ETIS, EU Flower, EMAS … Medium-term ETIS and other sust tourism indicators should be standardised and obligatory so destinations can compare, disseminate best practices – look for solutions on issues like overcrowding, tourism (dis)satisfaction, etc.  EC, governments, key destinations, universities/institutes, DMOs, etc.
CO2 emissions reductions Challenge How to improve the building performance of hotels in order ot reduce resource consumptions. Understamdimg the building life cycle and how it affects operations and resource consumption Medium-term Push for data collections & disclosure. Ther eis the need for a common data disclosure policy similar to open banking which would allow hoptels and operators to have easily access to their energy data.   Industry, start ups, regulators
Industry data index Opportunity With more data available there is an opportunity for the industry to create a carbon emission dashboard to push for benchmarking and better performance Short-term Dashboard already created by hte University of Surrey there is the need of a unified approach in the industyr to collect data sets Universities & research centres, industry associations, operators
Online educational training Opportunity Develop sustainability educaitonal training compalusary such as the ones for health and safety in order ot push behavioral change at operaitonal level Short-term Inlcude certain aspeacts of sustainability in health & safety regulations and develop the products with the complaince comapnies in the industry Regulators, industry & operators



  • My vision (personally) for the EU tourism sector in the next 10-20 years is the climate neutral holidays! Absolutelly decarbonized transportation (so minimum traveler carbon footprint), with facilities in EU that have minimum environmental footprint (water, energy, waste, biodiversity), with great positive impact into the local society and nature environment. My vision has in priority the local communities on destination management, with no all-inclusive packages but highly responsible investors.
  • The tourism of tomorrow agenda should lead destinations to recover by achieving smart and sustainable growth, address climate change and improve resource efficiency, embrace digitalisation, boost skills, deliver market intelligence and optimise the potential that tourism has as one of the drivers of the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.
  • We expect the industry to We expect the industry to offer travellers full visibility on the sustainability impact of trips, as well as efficient options to offset emissions. We expect that technology to make travel more efficient, increasing load factors in transport, providing intermodal solutions that optimize travel costs, traveling time and environmental impact. We expect an industry that protects the complex travel ecosystem, from large airlines and hotel groups to the smallest SME serving tourists at destination.offer travellers full visibility on the sustainability impact of trips, as well as efficient options to offset emissions. We expect that technology to make travel more efficient, increasing load factors in transport, providing intermodal solutions that optimize travel costs, traveling time and environmental impact. We expect an industry that protects the complex travel ecosystem, from large airlines and hotel groups to the smallest SME serving tourists at destination.