IRU, as part of the Network for the European Private Sector in Tourism (NET), welcomes the designation of 2018 as EU-China Year of Tourism. The announcement was first made by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission and Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, at the EU-China summit in July 2016.
The EU-China Tourism Year represents an excellent opportunity for both regions to boost the travel sector, but a holistic approach is needed to make this a success. Facilitating travel is one of the key issues that needs addressing. NET therefore repeats its call to Member States to adopt the recommendations of the review of the EU visa code to make travel to Europe easier.
According to the European Travel Commission, European destinations have welcomed 10.1 million Chinese visitors in 2015, accounting for a share of 13% of all outbound travel from China. At the same time, Europe has sent 4.9 million visitors to China, accounting for 19% of the total foreign visitors.