With global competition in tourism fiercer than ever, European coastal regions have to become creative to stay ahead of the game. As Europe joins in the celebrations on this year’s World Tourism Day, the EU is therefore deepening its commitment to developing tourism in our coastal and maritime regions.


Port Barcelona by Anne Varak via flickr CC


Port Barcelona by Bengt Nyman via flickr CC

Coastal and maritime tourism is a key component of the tourism sector and one of the engines of the blue economy in the EU, employing 3.2 million people and generating 18 billion euros a year.The European Strategy for more Jobs and Growth in Coastal and Maritime Tourism encourages local businesses to up their game and offer new, memorable experiences to customers by developing more targeted tourist packages. In 2016 alone the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund is providing more than 8.5 million euros for blue growth, including projects that help to develop sustainable coastal and maritime tourism throughout Europe.In addition, the European Commission is supporting this development by publishing a number of calls for proposals in this field.The Commission will publish a call for proposals for the development of Thematic Nautical Routes for Europe in November 2016. Today, 36 million tourists in Europe regularly go on nautical holidays, using 6 million boats and 4,500 marinas. With today’s holidaymakers looking for proposals that go beyond the classic “sea and sun” holidays, this call will help to better link nautical tourism to other activities and interests, for instance cultural heritage.The European Commission is also making available 345 000 euros for projects developing Thematic Routes on Underwater Cultural Heritage, thereby turning Europe’s rich natural and cultural heritage into a sustainable touristic attraction.Finally, the EU is supporting training and skills development to help improve the service and quality that tourists experience. The Blue Labs call, with a €1.7 million bu