European Commission addresses the relevance of the Next Tourism Generation project
The Communication from the European Commission of May 13 on Tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond represents a small but significant milestone for the Next Tourism Generation project. In an official document of one of the most important institutions of the European Union, a prestigious acknowledgement of the importance and value of the project is formally expressed, through the reference that is made to the work we are carrying out and even to our website www.nexttourismgeneration.eu.
About the European Commission Communication
This Communication and the accompanying initiatives set a coordinated framework to enable all Europe to benefit from a restful and above all, safe tourism season, gradually this summer and into the subsequent winter and beyond. The communication also aims to support the sustainability of our valuable tourism ecosystem for generations to come.
As stated in the official document, this Communication helps the Member States to lift confinement measures and resume businesses, work and social life, in line with epidemiological and public health criteria. This Communication is accompanied by a package that provides reassurances and clarity for people and a pathway to recovery for tourism and transport, to ensure that the EU retains its position as the world leader for sustainable and innovative tourism.
Resilience and avoiding skills shortages in tourism
Going into detail, on page 12 of the communication – in the paragraph III.e (entitled “Saving jobs”) -it is specified that “ To increase the resilience and to avoid in the future shortages of skills that are necessary for green and digital transition, Member States should also increase existing opportunities for upskilling, through national and EU funds.’’
‘’At EU level, the blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills provides a framework for strategic cooperation between key stakeholders to address short and medium-term skills needs in selected sectors, tourism among them.’’
The Next Tourism Generation blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills in tourism is the key output of the project and will be of high relevance to avoid future shortages of skills.
Skills Agenda focuses on future skills needs: digital and sustainable transitions
The upcoming updated Skills Agenda will further support sectoral cooperation to tackle skills needs, with a focus on skills for successful digital and green transitions, two of the main skills sets in the Next Tourism Generation project.
Citing the Communication of the European Commission, sustainability skills are of major importance in 2020 and beyond. “Our aim should be to enable affordable and more sustainable transport and improved connectivity, boost smart management of tourism flows based on sound measurement and tools, diversify the tourism offer and extend off-season opportunities, develop sustainability skills for tourism professionals.
Secondly, investing in the development of digital skills, digital tools and technology enables tourism operators to reassure that travel and tourism can be safe using data, profile segments and technical resources.
‘’Tourism can gain from the digital transition, providing new ways of managing travel and tourists flows, opportunities and more choice as well as more efficient use of scarce resources. The use of big data analysis can create and share accurate tourist profile segments and help understand traveller trends and needs. It can enable tourism to respond immediately to changing customer demand and provide predictive modelling analysis. Finally, the application of blockchain technology would allow tourism operators to have all the available information about safe transactions. Digital tools can be also confidence-building measures to reassure people that travel and tourism can be safe. This means investment in digital skills, including cybersecurity and fostering digital innovation, and connecting tourism businesses and actors with existing data spaces at a local and regional level”.
The European Commission, therefore, encourages us to “think out of the box”, also because the post-Coronavirus will probably bring about the biggest transformation that the tourism industry has seen since the Internet burst.
If you would like to learn more about current skills gaps and future skills needs on sustainable and digital skills in tourism – Download our NTG skills research reports and explore the results of the skills assessment on European and country-level now.
Repair and prepare for the next generation
At this critical moment in time the European Union invests in a sustainable recovery and future. On Wednesday, May 27, the ambitious recovery plan for the next European generation ‘Next Generation EU’ was unveiled by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: ‘’The recovery plan turns the immense challenge we face into an opportunity, not only by supporting the recovery but also by investing in our future: the European Green Deal and digitalization will boost jobs and growth, the resilience of our societies and the health of our environment. This is Europe’s moment. Our willingness to act must live up to the challenges we are all facing. With Next Generation EU we are providing an ambitious answer.”
This states the importance of moving forward together and to prepare a better future for the next generation. It makes the Next Tourism Generation Alliance understand that there are great expectations about the results of our work and its actual ability to provide the Commission with performing and useful tools to better guide European policies on human resources and tourism, in particular in the green and digital transitions.