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European Tourism

New EU consular protection rules come into force
From 1 May, EU citizens living or travelling outside the EU will get better benefit from consular protection in case of need, where their country of origin is not represented in the non-EU country they visit.

Consular protection for European Union citizens abroad
Under EU law, as an "unrepresented EU citizen", you're entitled to help from any other EU Member State's embassy or consulate - under the same conditions as this EU country helps its own nationals. This website aims to provide you with general information about the right of unrepresented EU citizens to consular protection in third countries under the same conditions as the nationals of that EU country. It also helps you to find out whether your national state has an embassy or consulate in a given third country or territory. If you do not have an embassy or consulate in the country or territory where you are, it provides you with the contact details of embassies and consulates of other Member States that you might wish to contact to seek assistance.

Northern European cities offer best living conditions: report
Copenhagen and Bern offer the best living standards in the world for expatriates, according to a survey of the best and worst cities for air pollution, transport, personal security and cultural barriers.

Brussels updates EU Air Safety List
The Commission updated the EU Air Safety List of non-European airlines that do not meet international safety standards Thursday, adding Venezuela's Avior Airlines to the list of banned airlines.

The Escape Industry: How Iconic and Innovative Brands Built the Travel Business
The Escape Industry, by Mark Tungate, explores the evolution of the travel industry and the lessons we can take away from some of the world's leading brands. He explores the origins of these companies, and asks what it is that has enabled them to thrive, whilst others have failed and disappeared. The book explores the beginnings of some of travel's most iconic brands, including Thomas Cook, AirBnB, The Ritz, Lastminute.com, British Airways and Ryanair. Studded with exclusive interviews and alive with incidents and anecdotes, The Escape Industry takes readers on a journey into the past, and the future, of a fascinating industry in a way that will appeal to business leaders, marketers, travel industry professionals and anyone who has an interest in travel as a consumer.

EU Tourism Policy
EU policy aims to maintain Europe's standing as a leading destination while maximising the industry's contribution to growth and employment and promoting cooperation between EU countries, particularly through the exchange of good practice. The EU's competence in the tourism is one of support and coordination to supplement the actions of member countries.

Europeans start to roam like at home
Europeans are aware of new EU mobile roaming rules and have started changing their habits when travelling abroad, a survey conducted after the first summer without the charges shows.

MEPs greenlight online films and TV while abroad
The European Parliament gave the green light Thursday to new rules enabling EU citizens with subscriptions for online films and TV series to access this content while temporarily in another EU country.

Screening of comparison websites in the travel sector
While it becomes more and more common to book hotels and flights online, consumers are encountering a growing number of problems with online travel services. These services are now among the most frequent consumer complaints according to the European Consumer Centres.

Online hotel booking under EU scrutiny
The European Commission and ten national competition authorities published a report on competition in the online hotel booking sector Thursday, highlighting the impact of antitrust enforcement measures.

Action Plan to tackle travel document fraud
The European Commission adopted on December 8 an Action Plan setting out concrete measures to improve the security of travel documents. The Action Plan provides clear recommendations for EU Member States to tackle the phenomenon of travel document fraud and outlines a comprehensive set of actions for the Commission to take. Travel document security is an important factor in the fight against terrorism and organised crime and contributes to improving border protection and migration management, paving a way towards an effective and genuine Security Union.

High standards for Europe's bathing water
Forty years after the first Bathing Water Directive was introduced, the EU's annual bathing water report show the standards of Europe's bathing water continuing to improve.

European bathing water quality in 2015
Every summer, European holiday resorts fill up with tourists eager to enjoy the warmer weather and the beautiful natural surroundings of this diverse continent. For many, the summer vacation is synonymous with swimming in the sea or in a lake, so it is natural that water quality is an important factor in choosing a destination. To help citizens make informed choices, the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission publish the annual European bathing water quality report. The information contained in this edition - which covers bathing water quality in 2015 in the EU Member States, Albania and Switzerland - indicates where good quality bathing water is likely to be found in 2016.

Visa reciprocity with US, Canada & Brunei: EU mulls next move
With the U.S., Canada and Brunei continuing to apply visa requirements for citizens of some EU Member States, the European Commission has assessed the legal, political and economic consequences of a possible temporary suspension of the visa waiver with these countries.

Car rental: improved rights for EU consumers
Five major car rental companies agreed on 13 July to significantly review how they deal with consumers, thanks to a joint action from the European Commission and national enforcement authorities. Citizens will benefit from more clarity on insurance policies and tank refuelling options, more fairness when handling damages, and more price transparency. Complaints related to car rentals received by the European Consumer Centres have increased sharply in the last two years.

EU Travel Package Directive reform: political agreement
Ministers in the Competitiveness Council reached a political agreement on new rules that will bring protection for package holidays up to speed with the digital age.

European bathing water quality in 2014 - EEA Report No 1/2015
The report assesses bathing water quality in 2014, indicating where the quality of bathing water is expected to be good in 2015. The report was compiled using information from more than 21 000 bathing waters in the 28 EU Member States. The report also covers bathing waters in Albania and Switzerland. The report is a joint production of the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission.

EU consular protection rules
EU Member States have adopted - after three years of negotiations - the Directive on consular protection for European citizens living or travelling outside the EU. The agreement by the Council clarifies when and how EU citizens in distress in a country outside the EU have the right to receive assistance from other EU countries' embassies or consulates. The aim is to ease cooperation between consular authorities and strengthen European citizens' right to consular protection.

"Going Abroad" app
What is the speed limit on Spanish motorways? Do I need to wear a helmet when I cycle in Sweden? What safety equipment must I always have in the car when driving in Slovakia? From now on, holiday makers do not need to spend a lot of time searching for this information. They can have it at hand wherever they are with the European Commission's new smartphone app "Going Abroad".

Water quality at Europe's beaches - 2013 report
The water at Europe's beaches, rivers and lakes was generally of high quality in 2013, with more than 95 % of these sites meeting minimum requirements. Coastal performed slightly better than inland bathing waters, the data shows.

EEA report - European bathing water quality in 2013
To allow Europeans to make an informed choice on which beach to choose, an annual report on the quality of coastal and freshwater bathing areas, as reported by EU Member States is prepared. This year the report has been prepared by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in cooperation with the European Commission DG Environment. The report assesses the bathing water quality in all 28 EU Member States, as well as Albania and Switzerland in the 2013 bathing water season and thereby gives an indication of the areas where the quality of bathing is expected to be good this year.

Simpler, more flexible visa rules
Many non-EU nationals wishing to travel to the EU are often faced with cumbersome, lengthy and costly visa procedures. The proposals presented today will seriously shorten and simplify the procedures for those wanting to come to the EU for short stays, and induce more cost savings and less bureaucracy, whilst maintaining the level of security. Making the access to the Schengen area easier for legitimate travellers will facilitate visiting friends and relatives and doing business. It will boost economic activity and job creation in, for instance, the tourism sector as well as in related activities such as restaurant and transport industries. A recent study shows that in 2012 a total number of 6.6 million potential travellers from six of the countries with the most travellers were 'lost' due to cumbersome visa procedures. It also showed that more flexible and accessible visa rules could lead to an increase in trips to the Schengen area of between 30% and up to 60%, only from these six countries. This could mean as much as EUR 130 billion in total direct spending over five years (in accommodation, food and drink, transports, entertainment, shopping, etc.), and could translate into some 1.3 million jobs in tourism and related sectors.

European strategy for coastal and maritime tourism
The European Commission presented on 20 February a new strategy to support coastal and maritime tourism in Europe. Recognising the sector's potential for sustainable growth and job creation, the strategy outlines 14 EU actions to help coastal regions and businesses tackle the challenges they face and strengthen the sector's position as a key driver of Europe's blue economy. These concrete actions are accompanied by a break-down of the tasks that Member States, Regions and industry stakeholders can undertake to complement the EU actions.

European Tourism Quality Principles
The European Commission has proposed a set of EU Principles for quality tourism services to help tourism services providers promote the quality of their services and enhanced consumer confidence about the high-quality of EU tourism services.

New tourism quality principles
The European Commission proposed on 20 February a set of voluntary European Tourism Quality Principles to ensure that tourists travelling to other EU Member States or visiting our continent from third countries will get value for their money. These principles cover four main areas: staff training under the supervision of a quality coordinator, consumer satisfaction to ensure that tourist can rely on handling of their complaints, cleanliness and maintenance, and correctness and reliability of information in at least the most relevant foreign language. Such access to reliable and up-to-date information on the quality of tourism services enables tourists to differentiate among competing products, to make an informed choice and to overcome linguistic difficulties. Small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) will find it easier to emphasize that they are providing a high quality service by sticking to the principles. The proposal will therefore help SMEs which make up over 90% of the EU tourism sector.