The Role of Transport Systems in Enhancing the Sustainability and Competitiveness of European Tourism

The Role of Transport Systems in Enhancing the Sustainability and Competitiveness of European Tourism


M Vougioukas, EuroTrans Consulting Ltd and University of Thessaly, GR


An integrated approach on policy assessment and measures, incentives and guidelines for leisure and tourism transport systems, towards enhancing the sustainability and competitiveness of European tourism


The integration of travel and tourism planning and management in a systematic way is a field, which has not been researched extensively yet, although current and future policy formulation, implementation and evaluation requires innovative thinking and new research results.

Tourism depends on travel services and transport systems in a major way at international, regional and local levels. Conversely travel flows are increasingly for tourism purposes, as tourism becomes the No 1 economic sector of activity in many countries and European regions. Whole communities within regions of the EU, including the new member states depend on tourism activities and their future is linked to tourism development. Transport congestion is frequently caused by tourism flows and in return congestion hinders the further development of tourism as it restricts the carrying capacity. Many initiatives, including by the EU, promote the sustainable development of tourism and promote sustainable transport, but the two sectors, travel and tourism, although inter-related have not been the subject of extensive research into their integrated and systematic planning and management, including economics, logistics and cybernetics.

Competitiveness of European tourism depends largely on the competitiveness of the transport systems and travel services. This paper will propose a methodology for integrated and systematic travel and tourism planning and management.

In particular, the paper addresses the EU 7th RTD Framework issues that: there is a need to improve the competitiveness of the European tourism in the various modes of transport for tourism and leisure, such as low-cost airlines, charter flights, high-speed trains, cruise ferries and short sea shipping, and that: there is also a need to address the emerging needs from a new typology of travellers (age, gender and cultures), congestion problems in airports and surface transport networks.

The main objectives of the proposed integrated methodology are:

- To integrate in a systematic way the research efforts on sustainable transport efficiency, effectiveness, competitiveness and safety with the tourism planning and management principles and techniques.
- To link the sustainable development of tourism to the planning and management of sustainable transport systems and services, including pricing and financing principles and information provision to travellers and tourists.
- To strengthen Europe and a tourist destination by integrating transport modes and services and therefore increasing competitiveness of both the European transport system and the European tourism sector.
- To provide the analytical tools for planning and management of travel and tourism, in terms of modelling and evaluation systems and techniques, that will be tested in a wide-range of transport modes connectivity and tourism destination types and regions (including urban tourism, ecotourism, cultural tourism, alternative forms of tourism, as well as mass tourism flow management and spatial and temporal dispersion strategies).
- To investigate new technology applications in leisure and tourism transport.
- To examine how the above apply to new typology of travellers.

The critical mass exists in Europe through its diversity of the tourism products and services, including all forms of tourism (mass tourism, urban tourism, cultural tourism, ecotourism, etc). The Integrated approach is expected to enhance European excellence in terms of advances in combining technology and policy for the planning and management of travel and tourism services.

The integrated approach includes, inter-alia, the following activities:

- Research into tourism product and destination choice of both European and international tourism products and destinations, identifying the determinants of choice by EU citizens and by other nationals coming to Europe for tourism.
- Investigation of techniques and measures to integrate travel and tourism services on the total chain (door-to-door).
- Development of modelling and evaluation tools for integrated and systematic travel and tourism planning and management, including visitor management software at both mass tourism resorts and sensitive areas (ecotourism).
- Investigation of new concepts to reduce the adverse impact of the transport system on European tourism (e.g. waiting time for check-in, baggage handling, administrative checks, ?) via an integrated and trans-modal approach, taking in consideration the specific needs of travellers and tour operators, as well as the socio-economic and environmental impacts on regions and cities affected.
- Policy analyses and evaluation to promote integrated travel and tourism, including all contributing EU policies (environmental, cohesion, regional development, economic, employment).

The paper will highlight possible ways of taking the proposed approach forward.


Association for European Transport