Tourism policy has an important impact on European prosperity and employment. Bulgaria took over the Council presidency in the first six months of 2018. It is focusing on key areas that TUI believes are especially significant.
- Brexit: The European Commission received the mandate to commence negotiations on transitional arrangements with the British government in January. It is essential that aviation issues are prioritised in this process. We urgently need to establish a legal framework for the millions of tourists in the EU, bearing in mind that flight schedules have to be agreed years in advance. This is why it’s so important to negotiate transitional phases and a final agreement as soon as possible. The whole of Europe would profit from a new agreement that fosters competition and is as close to the current regulations as possible.
- Development policy: 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific Group countries (ACP countries) enjoy special EU market access. The Market Access Regulation covers issues such as development cooperation and investments under the Cotonou Agreement. It expires in 2020. The Bulgarian presidency is planning a follow-up agreement. As a result of the economic success stories in countries such as the Cape Verde Islands, Mauritius and the Dominican Republic, the tourism industry will be involved to a greater extent as a development cooperation partner. It is capable, more than any other industry, of creating jobs and offering opportunities.
- Digital single market: The EU Commission wants to improve access to online services and leverage potential through the digitalization of all sectors of the economy. TUI welcomes the initiative. No other travel company has the same level of digital innovation focus as TUI. For example, in summer 2017 it switched over to blockchain technology for internal hotel capacity provisioning, setting an important example for the use of this new technology in the EU.
- Competition in aviation: The liberalisation of the aviation industry has allowed competition to thrive. To safeguard the competitive framework in the future and protect European airlines against the unfair practices of non-EU countries, the European Commission is planning to revise the current regulation. TUI welcomes this initiative and supports competition.
- EU border checks: The effective control of EU external borders is essential to free movement within the Schengen area. At the end of 2016, the European Commission presented the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS). It is an electronic authorisation that allows visa-free nationals to board a carrier in the Schengen Area. A regulation will be adopted in this respect in coming weeks. Politicians have taken the travel industry’s criticisms of the original procedure into account and intend to use a so-called iAPI protocol for fast and protected data transmissions. It means convenience and data security for passengers.
TUI at the heart of Brussels
TUI Group opened its new EU Corporate Office in Brussels on 30 January 2018. TUI’s CEO Fritz Joussen and EU Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger both emphasised the important role of the EU for the travel industry. “It provides the foundations for companies like TUI to provide customers throughout Europe with an excellent service,” said Oettinger.
Picture: Chief Executive Officer of TUI Group Fritz Joussen, Member of the TUI Group Executive Committee Thomas Ellerbeck and EU Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Günther H. Oettinger (l-r)