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At the 57th UNWTO Commission for Europe meeting in Baku, Azerbaijian, European tourism representatives met to discuss challenges and successes in European tourism and outline solutions for the future. The meeting identified international cooperation, innovation in the industry, private-public partnerships and accessibility as the main priorities for maintaining Europe’s competitive edge in the tourism industry.
The meeting also identified growth in Europe’s tourism numbers. In 2013, the continent saw a 5 percent increase in international tourist arrivals compared to 2012, bringing the total number of tourist arrivals to 563 million.
“Despite a fragile global economic recovery, particularly in the Eurozone, Europe continues to excel,” said Taleb Rifai, UNWTO secretary-general. “Many reasons are behind such positive performance, particularly growing collaboration and innovation, issues which are fundamental for Europe to ensure that tourism continues to play a central role in the region’s economic growth and job creation.”
To highlight international cooperation and innovation, the meeting was preceded by the “Developing Effective Tourism Clusters” seminar, which addressed Europe’s fragmented tourism industry and the need to develop tourism clusters within the continent.