EU and Tourism Development: Bark or Bite?
Publication: Research - peer-review › Journal article
In the absence of major programmes to strengthen the quality and competitiveness of European destinations, the role of the EU in tourism development has often been seen as fairly limited. Despite this, spill-overs or side effects from adjoining policy areas with extensive European regulation or intervention can be equally important, and the paper examines key aspects of the EU's role in tourism development in order to discuss to what extent the traditional interpretation of a passive actor of little consequence should be modified or even discarded. Drawing upon European and Nordic documentary sources as well as existing specialist literature, the text first examines the development of an EU policy statement on tourism, and then two areas of EU policy - competition policy and regional development - are analysed with a view to establishing side-effects in European and Nordic destinations. It is concluded that while policies specifically targeting tourism have been limited in reach and profile, the touristic side effects of other economic and social policies central at the European level have clearly been considerable, primarily by facilitating the emergence of new multinational tour operators and budget airlines, but also by supporting development of new services and experiences in parts of Europe where tourism has until now been a socio-economic activity of relatively limited importance.