European Commissioner Karmenu Vella promotes the importance of coastal tourism for growth and jobs

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MALTA – On the occasion of the 73rd HOTREC General Assembly, Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and the European hospitality industry agreed on the importance of tourism to the EU economy and discussed the Commissioner’s strategy to step-up European coastal regions’ touristic potential in order to boost growth and jobs and help Europe remain the N°1 touristic destination in the world.

Representatives of the hospitality industry from all over Europe stressed to Commissioner Vella the industry’s many contributions to the EU economy, e.g. the 10 million direct jobs it provides and recalled that it is one of the few industries which keeps creating thousands of jobs every year. To help SMEs and micro-enterprises providing sustainable and competitive services in the global tourism market, financial incentives are needed, as well as a favourable regulatory framework.

While the members of HOTREC praised the Commissioner’s efforts to promote coastal and maritime tourism, they also called on him to fully integrate their economic and regulatory needs into the EU’s environment and maritime affairs policies, in order to keep innovating and even maintaining a high quality of installations despite the seasonality dimension of this type of tourism.

Commissioner Vella presented his actions, e.g. calls for proposals, which will help local tourism businesses implement more competitive and sustainable offers. In addition, he stressed the Commission’s support for training and the development of skills, as the objective is to help improve the service and quality that tourists experience in a sector which is still seasonal.

“In order for the blue economy to grow and help boost growth and jobs in the hospitality sector, it is critical to provide business with certainty but also to equip people with the necessary skills, boost innovation and increase our knowledge base. All while preserving our marine environment for generations to come” concluded Commissioner Vella.

HOTREC elects its new Executive Committee for a mandate of two years
HOTREC also elected its new Executive Committee (EXCOM) composed of 11 members, representing 11 European countries. Ms. Kraus-Winkler has been re-elected President of HOTREC, after a first mandate of two years period. Ms. Kraus-Winkler is a Member of the HOTREC Executive Committee since 2004 and assumed the functions of Vice-President of HOTREC from 2010.  She counts with a vast experience in tourism and hospitality sector management and is co-owner of the LOISIUM wine & spa Hotel Group and Harry’s Home Hotel Group. Ms. Kraus-Winkler develops as well, on a daily basis, different functions at the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, where she is a longstanding Board Member of the Austrian Professional Hotel Association.

“Our goal for the next two years is to provide the industry with a favourable regulatory framework to invest in innovation and new products, therefore fostering business growth and job creation. I will continue, together with the newly elected Executive Committee of HOTREC, and its Members, along with the CEO and his Team, to influence the EU legislative debates and make sure that the voice of the 1.8 million SMEs is heard. I will also strive for our Association to keep providing excellency in its services and being a best practice and knowledge sharing platform to all its 43 National Associations, located in 30 European countries”, commented Ms. Susanne Kraus-Winkler, the re-elected HOTREC President.

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