The Canary Islands present in Brussels the European Convention on Tourist Islands for which specific policies are proposed.

The Minister of Tourism, Industry and Trade of the Government of the Canary Islands, Yaiza Castilla, presented today in Brussels the 1st European Convention of Tourist Islands to MEPs and representatives of the European Union (EU), whom she invited to participate in the event in order to establish a common strategy for these territories.
to Members of Parliament and representatives of the European Union (EU), whom she invited to participate in the event in order to establish a common strategy for these territories. “The main objective of this meeting is to design and propose a common investment plan for these territories to the EU,” said the Councillor.

The convention, organised together with the recently constituted Association for Research, Study and Excellence in the Tourism Sector in the Canary Islands, Excelcan, will be held in the Canary Islands.
Canary Islands, Excelcan, will be held at the ExpoMeloneras Conference Centre in Gran Canaria on 1 and 2 December, with the participation of three multinational companies such as Telefónica, Atos and Amadeus. The day before, 30 November, the General Assembly of the Network of Island Chambers of Commerce of the European Union (Insuleur), organised by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of Gran Canaria, will be held within the framework of this event.

At the presentation of this meeting, which took place at the Delegation of the Government of the Canary Islands in Brussels, Yaiza Castilla was accompanied by Santiago Armas, President of Excelcan, and José Carlos Francisco, Vice President.
As Castilla explained, “the situation resulting from the pandemic has opened a window of opportunity for the European Union to reinforce the vision of tourism as a decisive sector in the economy and social development of the continent and its islands”. The Councillor explained that this new situation gave rise to the idea that the Canary Islands should be the focus of this debate, with a convention at which the need to promote the resolutions and declarations of the European Commission and Parliament on “a new European tourism policy that is not just the sum of the different strategies of the Member States” will be addressed.
“We want this meeting to serve as a joint proposal and to make decisive progress in two major transitions, as indicated by the European Union: the green transition and the digital transition”, added Castilla, who defined both challenges as essential for moving towards “a more diversified, competitive and higher quality economy, with economic, social and environmental sustainability”.

In order to achieve this sustainable and digital tourism, the Councillor for Tourism invited the MEPs and European representatives to form part of the preparatory commission for the convention, which will begin to function in September with the aim of drawing up joint proposals and projects.

Along the same lines, Santiago de Armas, President of Excelcan, emphasised the opportunity that this event will provide for the companies, which will be able to work together and with the participating regional and European authorities, not only in person during the Convention, but also, via the intranet that will be set up for this purpose, during the pre-congress phase, with the aim of pooling common interests and eventually proposing transnational business projects, which can really be tractors and accelerators of the digital and green transitions in the island territories.

The Convention
The 1st European Convention of Tourist Islands will address the need to define new competitive tourism models to face the challenges and obligations that will be imposed by the institutions of the European Union in terms of ecological transition, reduction of the carbon footprint, use of more sustainable resources or digitalisation and modernisation.
By holding this event in the Canary Islands, both the Regional Ministry of Tourism and Excelcan hope that the Canary Islands will bring together this movement of islands in order to become one of the leaders of the new European tourism policy through strategic projects of European scope.
The convention is aimed at presidents and heads of tourism from European island territories with a strong tourism industry; companies with strategic projects from all regions; universities and knowledge centres; and, finally, European authorities who can help to promote a common policy.
The event will be attended by companies, experts, universities and representatives of international, national and regional institutions.
In addition, the Chamber of Commerce of Gran Canaria is also collaborating in the organisation of the event and, through the Chamber, the Network of
Insuleur, the EU Network of Island Chambers of Commerce, to hold its annual general assembly and forum within the framework of this meeting.
The 1st Convention of European Tourist Islands will be divided into six round tables focusing, among other topics, on European tourism policy, digitalisation and the opportunities and risks of sustainability.
There will be presentations and commissions from the respective roundtables, which will be responsible for drawing conclusions and proposals that will result in a joint declaration and a common action plan for each of the different themes.
The target audience of this initiative is, in addition to the different authorities, the European tourist islands themselves, i.e. those islands or
archipelagos of a minimum economic and territorial dimension where tourism is the fundamental sector of their economy. This initiative is
co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, as part of the Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Europe’s tourist islands

According to the typology established by Eurostat in 2018, there are 61 island regions in the EU-27, corresponding to 11 countries and representing a population of 20.5 million inhabitants, or 4.6% of the European Union total.

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