OREANDA-NEWS. IRU has added its support to calls for 2018 to be the European Year of Tourism and Cultural Heritage. A jointly signed letter, endorsed by, amongst others the World Tourism Organisation and several Members of the European Parliament, was sent to the European Commission asking for such a designation in order to further help in promoting European tourism. Tourism represents a key sector of the EU economy accounting directly and indirectly for almost 10% of the EU’s GDP and employing more than 25 million people. Buses, coaches and taxis are an integral part of Europe’s transport industry that sees 900 million multimodal tourist journeys every year. Coach tourists spend 40% more in tourist destinations than other tourists.

A 2018 European Year of Tourism would follow on from the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development in 2017 and allow the leading role that Europe plays in the sector to be showcased.