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