On 24 January 2017, the working Group on “Sustainable Tourism” held its fifth meeting. More than 30 Baltic Sea parliamentarians, experts, observers and administrative employees followed the invitation of Sylvia Bretschneider to the rooms of the Information Office of the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern at the European Union.
The session began with a video conference between Brussels and Madrid. Ms. Isabel Garaña, Regional Director for Europe at the UN World Tourism Organization informed the participants about the global developments in the tourism sector with a special view on the International Year for Sustainable Tourism of the United Nations.
Subsequently, Prof. Paul Peeters from the Centre for Sustainable Tourism and Transport of the University of Breda gave a presentation about the connections between environmental protection, climate change and sustainable tourism.Especially in the field of the optimization of traffic routes, concrete recommendations for actions in order to establish “Sustainable Tourism” have been presented.
The third expert was Mr. Carlo Corazza, Head of Unit Tourism, Emerging and Creative Industries of the European Commission, who briefed the participants on support measures for linked private and public tourism projects.
Furthermore, Mr. Veiko Spolītis, member of the Parliament of Latvia, was elected as second Vice Chair of the Working Group.
In addition, textual and organizational questions concerning the future work have been discussed. As a result, the forthcoming Working Group meetings will take place in Kiel in March and on the Åland Islands in May. They are primarily going to deal with the elaboration of concrete political recommendations for action for the final report of the Working Group. Young people who are nominated by the parliaments of the BSPC will be involved in the consultations in Kiel. Hence, the interparliamentary cooperation on “Sustainable Tourism” chaired by Sylvia Bretschneider is extended by transnational cooperation with young adults.
Sylvia Bretschneider gave a comment after the end of the meeting: “The consultation of the Working Group in Brussels with representatives of the United Nations and the European Commission showed how relevant the topic sustainable tourism is. Especially taking the fact into consideration that the United Nations declared the year 2017 as the international year of sustainable tourism for development. We will have to assess the contributions of the experts very intensely. We are well on our way concerning the elaboration of concrete recommendations of action for the governments of the Baltic Sea Region in the forthcoming meetings. I am particularly looking forward to work with the young people from the Baltic Sea Region within the framework of the next session.”