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Taking Europe’s

competitiveness one

step ahead: a crucial

year of actions led

by HOTREC & the

tourism sector



In a challenging global context, the past 12 months saw European leaders even more aware of the role of tourism

as a catalyst for jobs and growth, thanks to the work done by the EU Institutions, the Network for the Private

Sector for Tourism (NET), and the United Nations, celebrating 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable

Tourism for Development, in which HOTREC is playing a substantial role.

HOTREC kept on taking strong initiatives to further engage the industry into innovation and create the conditions

for a competitive and sustainable European tourism sector.

The Digital Single Market Strategy’s mid-term review provided HOTREC with the opportunity to further

promote its benchmarks to develop a fair and transparent online market for consumers and suppliers. Indeed

the accommodation booking market, ruled for 90% in Europe by two platforms only, require an unambiguous

commitment by platforms for transparency towards the 200,000 hotels, and the 1.8 million restaurants, pubs

and cafes which will be subject to the same unfair market conditions if measures are not taken urgently.

The lack of support from peer to peer platforms to legalise the so called collaborative economy, has not only

increased unfair competition to the regulated accommodation sector, but has also impeded its capacity to invest.

HOTREC applauds Commissioner Bienkowska’s initiative to bring together EU Member States and the industry

to define guiding principles to level the playing field and set the conditions for a vivid tourism sector.

Twomajor projectsmarked HOTREC’s steps ahead: the EU funded project AppTourYou aimed at better promoting

services for people with specific needs, and the development of guidelines to further reduce food waste and

foster food donations in order to better meet the requirements of the Circular Economy.

Most recently, HOTREC’s contribution to the EU discussions on the VAT regime reform through its policy report

showed how low VAT rates for hotels and restaurants foster job creation, growth and investment.

Last but not least, the industry has further embraced innovation, e.g. robotics, and engaged in improving the

experience of guests by bringing together the values of the European hospitality industry and the new market

requirements driven by digitalisation and societal change.

We would like to thank HOTREC Members for their ongoing support, among which the Icelandic Travel Industry

Association which joined us recently, the European Institutions for their commitment to tourism, the UNWTO

and its Secretary General Mr Taleb Rifai for his leading role in making tourism a catalyst for peace, as well as our

many project partners, among which ETC, NET, NECSTouR, the European Federation of Food Banks, UEAPME

and Metro.

Christian de Barrin, CEO, and Susanne Kraus-Winkler, President