Ujhelyi is the MEP of the Year 2017

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C7jFTfdXUAEFJbn.jpg largeIstvan Ujhelyi – the only Hungarian MEP shortlisted this year – has received the MEP award on Wednesday in Brussels. Mr Ujhelyi, who is also the Vice-President of the Hungarian Socialist Party received this award in acknowledgement of his tireless work in the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism.

Every year, the Parliament Magazine – a Brussels bi-weekly political newspaper – holds the MEP Awards ceremony where they award deputies of the European Parliament in a range of categories. Politicians are nominated by other MEPs, civil organisations, or private individuals. Following thousands of nominations, editors of the Parliament Magazine shortlist 3-3 deputies in each category based on who nominated them and on their achievements in their respective policy field. Finally, a board of experts select the one and only winner in each category.

Based on the nominations, Istvan Ujhelyi was shortlisted already second year in a row, last year in the “tourism” category while this time he was awarded for his work in the field of transport. Mr Ujhelyi, as Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism, was working actively to defend the interests of Hungarian hauliers during the EU-level German minimal-wage debate and has been from an early stage a staunch supporter and mentor of the free InterRail project as well.

At the award ceremony Mr Ujhelyi said he arrived to Brussels in 2014 with a tripartite goal. First, to learn everything about the European Union, to put tourism on the distinguished place it deserves on the policy map of Europe, and to strengthen European values in the face of growing illiberalism in Hungary and across the continent – showing that Hungary has a truly European face as well.

22.03.2017.

HOTREC-interview with MEP Ujhelyi

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hotreckkInterview of MEP Istvan Ujhelyi, Vice¬Chair of the European Parliament Transport & Tourism (TRAN) Committee.

MEP  István  Ujhelyi  is  Vice  Chair  of  the  Transport  and  Tourism (TRAN) Committee  and Chair  of the TRAN Tourism Task Force. He is also a key member of the Parliamentary Intergroup on the development  of  European  Tourism,  Cultural  Heritage,  Ways  of Saint James and other European cultural routes. HOTREC asked Mr. Ujhelyi (S&D, Hungary) to share his views on the activities of the European Parliament about tourism.

What are the most important tasks for Tourism policy for the following 2,5 years?

Even 168 hours in a week are not enough to fight for Tourism. My main role is to represent Tourism policy and make the sector  visible  in  the  decision  making  system,  and  put  tourism  on  that  level  it  deserves.  Tourism  is  the  sector  where sustainable  jobs  can  be  created  and we  have to work  on  it to  have more  jobs. The  other main  aim to  involve the  young generation.  The  third  main  issue  is  to  deal  with  security,  as  Tourism  is  the  industry  of  peace.  I  have  a  vision  on  the importance  of  Tourism,  that  is  why  it  is  included  in  the  programme  of  the  Tourism  Task  Force.  In  March  we  have  an exchange  of  views  on  the  present  situation  on  VISA  Code,  the  reciprocity  issue  and  ETIAS  legislation.  For  the  future sessions we have many interesting topics, like digitalisation and its role in the re-industrialisation of Europe, the funds for the Tourism sector, especially how to get funding through the EFSI funds. In wider term I would like to get together all those sectors where Tourism  is  an  important  asset. That  is why we  held  events  on  connectivity  between the  different transport  modes and tourism, how circuses and aqua¬parks can booth the tourism industry.

You are an initiator of numerous pilot projects and preparatory actions. What is the state of play in these?

Two  projects  are  in  the  implementation  phase,  these  are  the  World  Bridge  Tourism  and  the  Youth  on  the  SPOT programmes. The first project has a  real added value to create a successful China – EU Tourism Year for 2018. We are working  with the  Commission  on the  Capital  of  Tourism  preparatory  action. It  is  just  after the first  interim  evaluation  and becoming reality in 2018. The opinions of the stakeholders are included in the final proposal, and they will have an important role in the later phases.

Antonio Tajani became President of the Parliament and he is a strong advocate for Tourism. Do you think to have a stronger representation of Tourism in the coming years?

I think absolutely yes. He can have an incentive role, if he understands the potential of Tourism as President of the EP. On inter-institutional level I have many ideas how to build a stronger relationship between UNWTO and EP this year. I would like to  have  the  Tourism  Manifesto  more  visible,  and  one  of  my  main  focuses  to  have  invited  Tourism  Stakeholders  to  our regular Task¬Force meetings. HOTREC has an important role in this process.

Hotrec Newsletter – 03/2017