The initiatives of Greece and the Ministry of Tourism that actively promote the agenda of sustainable tourism development were presented by the Minister of Tourism, Olga Kefalogianni, at the informal meeting of EU Tourism Ministers held in Belgium with the main theme of ensuring the resilience of the tourism ecosystem.

In particular, Mrs. Kefalogianni referred to the establishment of the Coastal and Marine Tourism Observatory in the Mediterranean, which monitors, records, plans and implements targeted thematic policies for the sustainable development of coastal and marine tourism in the Mediterranean.

He even added that nine countries have already declared that they will participate in this strategically important project and sent an invitation to their counterparts to join forces in this important effort.

The minister emphasized that we are at a pivotal moment, where specific initiatives can shape the course of the tourism sector in the European Union, and he referred to key aspects that need attention at the leadership level.

In particular, he pointed out the need to strengthen and recognize the value of tourism in the EU, and for this reason he suggested that the informal meeting of tourism ministers acquire a formal character and be held in the context of each new EU Presidency.

At the same time, he noted the usefulness of establishing a permanent Tourism Committee (Tourism Task Force) at the EU level.

Afterwards, Mrs. Kefalogianni pointed out the importance of providing special funds from the European budget, which will provide direct financial possibilities to the tourism sector.

He also underlined that ways to deal with the workforce shortage must be sought and promoted, and proposed the creation of a special platform (EU Talent Pool) for the interconnection of the E.U. with workers from third countries, but also the parallel development of cooperation agreements in the field of employment with third countries.

He then referred to the need to facilitate training programs in order to upgrade skills and retrain staff in the tourism industry.

Regarding the promotion of a fair digital environment for tourism activity in the EU, the minister noted the need to systematically monitor the implementation of EU Acts. for Digital Services and for Digital Markets, in order to ensure the interests of small and medium-sized enterprises in the sector, in relation to the business practices of online platforms.

Further to small and medium-sized enterprises, the minister supported the adoption of a common policy by the EU, to provide funding opportunities that will be particularly focused on strengthening their resilience and their transition to the digital age, which strengthens between among others, the process of adapting the tourism sector to the constantly changing preferences and behaviors of consumers, in the context of the digital and green transition.

Regarding the need to invest in sustainability and smart development, the minister proposed the development of partnerships to create a business environment that will allow businesses to adopt European legislation without obstacles, based on the “think small principle”, strengthening this way the competitiveness of businesses.

Finally, on the sidelines of the informal meeting of the Ministers of Tourism, Mrs. Kefalogianni had bilateral meetings with her counterparts from Italy, Croatia and Bulgaria, with whom she had the opportunity to discuss matters of mutual interest for the development of bilateral and European synergies level.