European Tourism Forum in Bratislava looks at security and digitisation

Within its Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Slovakia hosted the most important European event in the field of tourism – the 15th European Tourism Forum (ETF).

Transport Minister Árpád ÉrsekTransport Minister Árpád Érsek (Source: SITA)

The one-day forum that took place on October 11 in Bratislava focused on the latest trends and challenges in the sector.

The shared economy, competitiveness, the digitisation of the sector and the security situation in Europe were high on the agenda, Transport Ministry spokesperson Karolína Ducká told the TASR newswire. According to her, new technologies, which have caused a revolution in travel, are becoming more and more important nowadays.

Moreover, tourism in Europe has been affected by the security situation and the migration crisis. Therefore, one of Europe’s goals in the tourism sector is to maintain its position as the most peaceful continent in the world and to increase the number of tourists coming to EU countries, Ducká said.

“New challenges stand in front of us, and we have to respond to them,” Transport Minister Árpád Érsek (Most-Híd) said, as quoted by TASR. “A few years ago, no one considered the issue of security when choosing a holiday in Europe. Today, it’s one of the key factors.”

Regarding the future of tourism in the EU, a joint step forward should be made in promoting Europe as a global tourist destination to distant markets. In this context, 2018 has been declared the year of tourism between the EU and China. The transport minister sees this as a great opportunity to increase the number of Chinese tourists visiting European countries.

“The world is shrinking, and nowadays even the most remote destinations seem to be closer than they were a few years ago,” minister said. “Therefore, we must do our best to boost the quality and range of services.”  He added that Slovakia has done a great deal of work in this area, but there is still some scope for improvement.

Within the tourism forum, Érsek held bilateral talks with European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elzbieta Bienkowska, and World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Executive Director Zoltan Somogyi.

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