The tourism industry is a relatively young but dynamically growing business in Europe. The initial package tour trade and, increasingly, the use of the Internet and low cost airlines, have raised it to the size it has today.

As in every quickly growing business, job protection, ups and downs hot and cold baths of economic development reinforce the pressure on workers. No uniform wage standard exists apart from some peculiarities specific to certain countries.

Whilst the employers’ side is marked by companies active Europe-wide, representation of workers’ interests still appears fragmented.
With the foundation of the European Trade Union Liaison Committee on Tourism (ETLC) a mouthpiece was created to speak with one voice and to represent workers’ interests both to the European institutions and at European level generally.

With this Internet platform, a further step for the common presence of trade unions in the European tourism industry is being taken:

  • We report currently on developments and important events in the tourism industry.
  • We present our opinions on central topics, as well as the principal documents and presentations from our annual conferences.
  • We show the way to the European trade union federations in the tourism industry, to their national member unions and to the ETUC.
  • We support the establishment of European Works Councils by making the necessary materials available, as well as providing the link to experts and European institutions.
  • We give information on current political topics which are being processed by the EU Commission and which are of trade union interest.

A new ETLC-Project

Tourism is one of the biggest and fastest expanding European economic sectors. Globalisation, demographic changes and the evolution in transport are decisive factors in driving the rapid growth of this sector. With its variety of attractions and quality of its tourism services, Europe is the world leading tourist destination. The tourism sector consists of tour operators, travel agencies, transport, accommodation, food, guides, recreation and entertainment. But it is also a cross-cutting sector whose fortunes impact on many other sectors ranging from construction to retail business. The tourism sector attracts many young people, offering job opportunities for people with different skills’ levels, representing for many a first contact with working life.

Employers and workers in the tourism sector have the same interests for the growth of the sector, for the quality of employment, for good working conditions, and for the quality of services in a safe environment. Co-operation and dialogue amongst all those involved with tourism is an absolute necessity. Despite the existence of a European social dialogue in the hotel and restaurant sector and in the transport sectors, the attempts to develop a dialogue for the whole tourism sector have failed up to now.

The ETLC is convinced that social dialogue between social partners is crucial for the pursuit and fulfilment of the goals as set by the EU 2020 strategy and the new policy framework for European tourism. ETLC therefore decided to launch a project in view to open up the road to a social dialogue at European level with the employers of the tourism sector in order to contribute together to the promotion of the development of sustainable, responsible and high-quality tourism in Europe.

The objectives of the project, which is co-financed by the European Commission, are:

  • to map the social partners in the tourism sector in EU and candidate countries, to investigate their representativeness and to evaluate the state of social dialogue at national level;
  • to identify and compile examples of initiatives/policies developed by tourism companies and trade unions in the field of sustainable development in tourism in EU Members States and candidate countries;
  • to path the way to an European social dialogue in the tourism sector by promoting discussion and interaction and sharing experiences with the employers of the sector;
  • to network and build contacts with all relevant stakeholders in the tourism sector to discuss and analyse the possible initiatives and measures to improve the promotion of competitive and sustainable tourism in Europe.
  • The project will last 12 months. The main event of this project will be a European conference in October 2011 in Florence, Italy.