Politics & Economics / Tourism & Culture

The Hungary-led EU presidency stresses on dialogue with China for a competitive tourism

July 2024
By Editorial Staff

The Hungarian EU Council rotating presidency is eager to boost the competitiveness of tourism as much as it is determined to do in other sectors, the Minister for National Economy Marton Nagy announced during a Conference in Budapest focused on the tourism business development between China and Europe.

The sector contributes 9% to the EU GDP and employs 4.4% of the workforce, indirectly supporting nearly 25 million people. Projections indicate a significant increase in Chinese visitors to Europe. The gradual lifting of the strict emergency measures adopted to curb the COVID-19 pandemic paved the way for a recovery in China, one of the countries with the highest outbound tourism expenditure worldwide.

According to the latest figures published by the country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism and reported by Statista, the number of outbound departures from China exceeded 40 million in the first half of 2023, being twice as many as in the whole of 2020. While most outbound visitors preferred to remain within Asia in the months following China’s return to international tourism, Europe still represented the main long-haul outbound destination for Chinese travelers. France, Italy, and Germany ranked as the most popular countries for planned trips between January and April 2024, denoting also a strong interest in Western and Mediterranean Europe.

The World Tourism Alliance (WTA), the European Travel Commission (ETC), and the Hungarian Tourism Agency organized the event with the final aim to create a professional platform for international tourism discussion which would be designed to foster cooperation within the industry. The European Commission also aims to bind this resourceful business to a sustainable approach. Both administrations launched the EU-China Year of Tourism in 2018.

The sector represents a strand of a delicate and precious cooperation between Brussels and Beijing and is considered as an important channel to promote peace by the WTA as well given the high stake for economic prosperity in Europe. The safety level is indeed a main criterion that makes Chinese tourists choose Europe as a long-haul travel destination.

During the conference over 200 representatives from the European and Chinese tourism industries explored ways to attract tourists and speed up growth following last year’s reopening of the tourism market.

The Hungarian presidency is called on to prepare the new EU competitiveness deal that European leaders firmly urged in April. This will go hand in hand with the release of Mario Draghi’s report on competitiveness expected to happen by the end of July.