The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has issued a call to action for the European Union (EU) to modernise and enhance the sector.

The WTTC forecasts that by 2033, the travel and tourism sector will reach its potential of a €1.9tn contribution to the EU economy, equivalent to one in ten euros spent there.

Economic impact research from the WTTC also forecasts that the sector will support the creation of 4m more new jobs by 2033, reaching 26.4m – one in eight jobs across the bloc.

The WTTC’s call to action highlights three key areas of focus for pragmatic policy implementation and sector support at the onset of a new political era in Europe.

A more sustainable future for travel and tourism

The WTTC is urging the EU to carry out policy impact assessments on the implementation of legislation on the sector, ensuring that the transition to a green and sustainable future is achievable and works hand in hand with the sector to reach net zero emissions targets.

The call to action encourages EU leaders to consider the role and commitments already made by the travel and tourism sector, so that any future environmental legislation complements, rather than hinders, the work already being undertaken.

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Supporting ease of travel across borders

WTTC is dedicated to supporting streamlined policies that facilitate smooth, hassle-free travel, stimulating growth and creating more job opportunities. A critical component of this is simplifying visa processes.

The global tourism body is urging the EU to continue its drive toward visa-free travel and remove existing barriers. WTTC encourages the EU to roll out the already delayed Entry-Exit System to ensure a more seamless traveller experience.

Boosting the digitalisation of travel and tourism

The WTTC and Microsoft recently reported that the travel and tourism sector is lagging in AI adoption and innovation.

WTTC is urging the EU to accelerate the adoption of such cutting-edge technologies, asserting that this will increase efficiencies, reduce costs and create opportunities for development and economic growth.

The EU should pursue policies that allow for contactless travel and support the innovative implementation of AI across the sector to support the digitalisation of passports and streamlining visa applications.

WTTC president and CEO Julia Simpson commented: “We urge the EU to adopt these recommendations for the benefit of businesses and travellers globally. As the sector modernises and unlocks the digital transformation of travel, together with the EU we can achieve unprecedented growth.”