The aim of this chapter is to consider how the EU’s approach to tourism may develop or change after the UK has left the Union. Beyond the changes and any exit agreements concluded in terms of trade, aviation and movement of people, capital and services, the UK’s withdrawal necessitates reviews of the Union’s treaties and of the EU budget. As this chapter argues, some of these reviews and revisions may be relatively straightforward, whereas discussions around the EU’s budget are likely to be contentious, generating intense negotiations between member states. In the medium term, policy areas such as cohesion, common visa and consumer protection – all significant for tourism and travel – will change as the existing member states attempt to tackle the aftermath of financial and migration crises and contemplate their future as a bloc.
Tourism has traditionally been cast as a means of promoting European identity and progressing the EU’s aims for further European economic and political integration. It is unlikely that the UK’s departure will result in a major change to the EU’s well-entrenched conceptualisation of tourism as an area of complementary competence. Instead, the existing priorities in terms of employment generation, consumer protection, competitiveness and product innovation are likely to continue but will be conditioned by the broader challenges and changes the bloc experiences as it redefines its longer-term focus. In the medium term, future budgetary decisions and the re-definition of EU policy objectives may impact on the levels of funding made available for tourism-related projects and the types of tourism-related initiatives and actions that are financially supported.
This chapter begins, however, by considering, in retrospect, the pre-Brexit relationship between the EU and the UK in terms of tourism, and the EU’s existing priorities and actions with regards to tourism. The implications of the revision to the EU common visa policy and the reasons that instigated its change are also considered important in explaining the background against which change is taking place and the EU’s responses to these changes. Consideration is also given to broader socio-political issues which are shaping the EU, such as shifts in power dynamics that the reallocation of the UK’s seats in the European Parliament might instigate, and the European Commission’s five scenarios for the future of the EU.
Anastasiadou, C. (2020). Tourism and the EU: Retrospect and Prospect. In Brexit and Tourism: Process, Impacts and Non-Policy (30-42). Bristol: Channel View