Created: Sunday, 16 March 2014
The GD Enterprise and industry pointed out on their website, that “tourism is a key sector of the European economy”. In 2010 the tourism industry has employed 9,7 million people which is 5,2 % of the total labour force in Europe. The IMPLEMENTATION ROLLING PLAN (UPDATE: 22.10.2012) of the EU COMMUNICATION "Europe, the world's No 1 tourist destination - a new political framework for tourism in Europe" (COM(2010) 352 FINAL) stipulate in Action 1 and 2 as priority the devolopment “ of a coherent strategy for diversifying the promotion of tourist services and capitalise on Europe's common heritage” as well as to “ Encourage the integration into tourism strategies of 'natural' heritage”.
Action 5 is pointing out, that the Commission will use the EU programmes like Leonardo to support training in the tourism sector. The Communication above confirms the significant role of cultural tourism, because it covers 40% of all European tourism. The EC identified, that more and more tourists are looking for true experiences. That is why “tourism policies will need to adapt to these trends and develop a quality offer promoting local cultures and traditions and paying attention to sustainable aspects: preservation of the heritage, of the landscape, of the local culture.” “At least Tourism contributes to employment and regional development, sustainable development and an enhanced natural and cultural heritage.”
A lot of interesting landscapes, cultural heritage and parks as well as local food traditions as European heritage can be found in rural and meanwhile sparsely populated areas in Europe. Especially rural areas in Europe are facing big challenges concerning the demographic changes. The urbanisation process and the lost of population in most from demographic and economic changes targeted European areas like eastern Germany, Lithuania, Cyprus, southern Hungaria, a lot of parts in Spain, mountainous areas in North Italy but also some areas in rural UK, which are those areas covered by the Project-partnership, is reaching a critical point. We can consider a huge brain drain, increased by the economic crisis in some southern areas in Europe, like the emigration of young and skilled people. In some European countries the economic crisis push skilled young people back to rural areas because of high unemployment rates in the cities. They expect better opportunities of surviving in the family and with agricultural work like in Greece or Spain. In some rural areas in Germany the unskilled young people are staying unemployed at home (e.g. Saxony-Anhalt, Harz area). Most of these areas have an important cultural history, famous landscapes and also an unique food- and agricultural tradition.
Some of them are part of Unesco World heritages or nature parks. The economical dying or the lost of population is accompanied with a lost of infrastructure, like public transport system and inns which were mostly frequented by the local population before. Very often we find a spiral down of quality of services, accommodation and hospitality. These findings could have an enormous negative impact for the tourism and the protection of these cultural regions as well as regional products and food as heritage. As a result these regions are loosing competitiveness instead of winning it. The NewTrailJobs partnership has identified on one hand a huge potential for an increasing tourism by developing new or strengthening old trails related with cultural heritage, natural heritage and traditional and sustainable food. But on the other hand they identified a lack on professional competences, a bad mind of service culture and also a low scale of entrepreneurship. Realising that the best skilled and mobile employees have left this areas they identified as potential labour forces and entrepreneurs a lot of young and old unemployed as well as unemployed women without relevant skills and in some cases returning young skilled people without any experience in work and entrepreneurship.