Europe's many historic churches, monuments and other cultural heritage should be better promoted to increase tourism to the EU.

"We should promote European 'branding' of our cultural heritage," stated Croatian MEP Dubravka Šuica. She negotiated an opinion on behalf of the EPP Group that was adopted with an overwhelming majority in the Committee on Transport and Tourism on Tuesday 5 May.

Cultural tourism accounts for about 40% of European tourism

"Europe is the world’s principal tourist destination, thanks to its rich cultural, artistic, religious and historical heritage, its natural assets and more," Šuica argues. "Foreign tourists coming to Paris or London must be better aware that they are visiting Europe, with all its diversity. And the EU can help this tourism by supporting visa facilitation, promoting digital technologies and improving infrastructure and access to destinations, and more."

We should promote European 'branding' of our cultural heritage Dubravka Šuica

Cultural tourism accounts for about 40% of European tourism. To preserve this important area in the long-term, Europe should better protect these sites.

A sustainable solution for mass tourism destinations

"Some cities are suffering from mass tourism. This is not sustainable any more," says Dubravka Šuica, who knows this from experience as former mayor of Dubrovnik. The UNESCO world cultural heritage city attracts many tourists from all continents; last year alone Dubrovnik was visited by almost one million cruise ship passengers.

A sustainable long-term development strategy needs to be worked out for the cruise industry. This should prevent sites of cultural and historic interest from being endangered through mass exploitation and ensure that the environment is protected.

"A sustainable long-term development strategy needs to be worked out for the cruise industry. This should prevent sites of cultural and historic interest from being endangered through mass exploitation and ensure that the environment is protected."

The report on the EU's cultural heritage will be voted soon in the Committee on Culture and Education in the European Parliament as well. Czech MEP Michaela Šojdrová is Shadow Rapporteur for the EPP Group on this issue.

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