Bled Strategic Forum deliberates on challenges of European tourism

 Saturday, September 4, 2021 


The Bled Strategic Forum has evolved into a leading international conference in Central and South-Eastern Europe. The 16th edition took place 31 August – 2 September in a hybrid form. The tourism panel held on 2 September brought together top experts from Slovenia and renowned institutions, including EC, UNWTO, WTTC, OECD, ETC, HOTREC, ECM, to discuss the future of (European) tourism.

The pandemic has posed many questions to tourism, among the most pressing ones are survival and recovery, along with the transformation of the tourism industry into more resilient and sustainable one. Despite the difficult situation, optimistic forecasts of key international tourism institutions are on the rise. This year’s Tourism Panel has discussed the question What will the future bring to European tourism.

Panellists agreed that the pandemic has had a major impact on tourism industry and posed many challenges, as well as opportunities. It is time to address the shortcomings of tourism industry that have resulted from the expansion in the last 50 years and transform tourism into a much greener, digital and inclusive industry. Key conclusions identified at the panel were:

  1. Tourist’s confidence in travel needs to be rebuilt.
  2. Travel protocols and communication and coordination between the Member States concerning travel restrictions, COVID tests and quarantine rules need to be improved.
  3. Roadmap for sustainable transition is necessary.
  4. New performance indicators are needed.
  5. Digital transformation of the tourism industry needs to be supported and promoted.
  6. Investments and EU funding allocation towards sustainability and digitalization of the tourism industry is required.
  7. The role of tourism at the EU level needs to be rethought.
  8. DMO transition in their role to actively facilitate the industry transition process to green, inclusive and digital needs to be supported.
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