Directorate for Consultative Work
Commission for Natural Resources
Brussels, 17 September 2015
NAT commission meeting of 21 September 2015
Agenda item 4: organisation of future commission work
The NAT commission secretariat has received three proposals for an external activity to be held in
External meeting and conference (9-10 May 2016)
Seminar (March/April 2016)
Seminar (end September/ beginning October 2016)
The details are set out in the following pages.
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— Rue Belliard/Belliardstraat 101 — 1040 Bruxelles/Brussel — BELGIQUE/BELGIË —
Tel. +32 22822211 — Fax +32 22822325 — Internet:
9 and 10 May 2016
Dear Mr Carneiro,
In your letter dated 9 July 2015, you asked the Natural Resources commission members to send in, by
9 September 2015, proposals for organising external activities in 2016.
I should now like to extend an invitation for the NAT commission to hold an external commission
meeting together with a thematic conference (over 2 days) in Innsbruck/Tyrol, possibly to be held on 9
and 10 May 2016. On the evening of 9 May, the official award ceremony will be held at the
Kaiserliche Hofburg in Innsbruck for the 2016 European Kaiser Maximilian Prize for outstanding
achievements in European local and regional politics. I would be pleased to invite all the members of
the NAT commission to this event, which will be jointly hosted by the Austrian state (Land) of Tyrol
and the city of Innsbruck.
As you explained in your letter, the NAT commission would have to decide on external events at its
meeting on 21 September; for this reason I would ask you to put my invitation to the NAT commission
members then.
I am aware that some of the costs are to be borne by the event organisers. Tyrol Land and the city of
Innsbruck are prepared to cover the necessary costs and they support my proposal, as does the
Austrian delegation to the Committee of the Regions.
Please find enclosed details of the key points of and background to the proposed conference.
Yours sincerely,
Type of activity proposed (select one):
External meeting and conference X
Study visit (12 members)
a) Title and subject matter of the proposed activity:
Rural areas as the key to economic, social and territorial cohesion in Europe - Governance and
infrastructure in relations between towns, surrounding areas, regions and macro-regions
Alongside the normal NAT commission meeting, the conference will be devoted to one of the CoR's
priorities, namely the sustainable development of rural areas in the broader regional context and also
where they are in competition with neighbouring towns and cities. The challenges facing rural areas
are huge, particularly as regards infrastructure (e.g. road-building, internet access, civil contingency
planning, health care, social welfare and integration). The assets of rural areas, such as air quality and
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tourism, can only be turned to advantage when there are balanced, resilient relations with
neighbouring towns and an appropriate division of labour between all concerned. The seminar would
like to make a contribution to assessing and demonstrating anew the challenges for rural areas, as to
how rural regions can become engines for the growth of Europe's economy and the development of
cohesion. The latest developments are to be presented with examples from different European regions;
a link can also be made with the implementation of European Commission President Jean-Claude
Juncker's plans in rural areas.
b) Link between the proposed activity and the work programme and political priorities of the
NAT commission and the CoR:
Although the 2016 work programme is not yet available, it can nevertheless be predicted that high
political priority will be attached to sustainable development in rural areas. The CoR will be issuing an
opinion on the subject at the end of the year; discussions between the institutions on this matter will be
continued. Moreover, in 2016 the CoR will be focusing on urban and rural development. The proposed
seminar is to be the NAT commission's expert policy contribution to this field. The seminar's aim will
be to demonstrate, using concrete examples and based on the latest research, how rural areas can
develop their own dynamics, where they are in competition with towns and cities, and also in the
context of macro-regional strategies. Such dynamics are not confined to the important sphere of the
agricultural economy, but they do allocate a key role thereto, as well as to rural tourism.
c) Political objective of the proposed activity:
The political aim is to approach relations between towns and their surrounding areas as an opportunity
for rural areas to grasp and to describe the particular strengths of rural areas more consistently.
Furthermore, the conference is to help devise a comprehensive strategy for rural areas which have
similar requirements and development potential. The Alps macro-region provides an important
reference framework for this conference, particularly for mountain regions and their relations with the
bigger cities. Innsbruck and Tyrol Land are a good example of this.
d) Strategic relevance of the proposed activity (interinstitutional calendar, NAT activities):
The harmonious development of all European regions is still one of the Committee of the Regions'
main subject areas. The CoR's policy proposals focus on territorial cohesion, attaching considerable
importance to both cities and rural areas. The strategic relevance of an event on the challenges facing
rural areas in relations between towns and their surrounding areas also lies in the fact that, in 2016, the
CoR will be organising key events on both urban policy and rural policy. Opinions will also be drawn
up on the two subjects. The NAT event proposed here is to devise a strategic stance for the NAT
commission in this debate, with the aid of examples and also using the results of new research in the
e) Added value of proposed activity:
Throughout Europe, increasing reference is being made to relations between towns and their
surrounding areas, as well as to the role of rural areas in macro-regions, often viewed from the cities'
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perspective. It is a policy concern of the NAT commission to view this from the perspective of rural
areas. Several subject areas falling within the NAT commission's brief will be touched upon at this
event, such as the development of sustainable tourism, the role of rural areas in civil contingency
planning and protection, transport infrastructure, digitisation and health care.
Political context:
Please indicate if there are any elections planned within 3 months before and/or after the
event, and if so, the date and type of election (e.g. local, regional, national).
Elections planned:
Date(s) of these elections:
g) Additional remarks:
The Austrian government has already promised to send a high-ranking ministerial representative and
contacts with neighbouring national governments have been taken up to further enhance the
conference politically.
Proposed venue:
INNSBRUCK (Tyrol, Austria)
Planned date:
9 and 10 May 2015
Proposed by (name of member):
Hanspeter Wagner
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March/April 2016
Type of activity proposed (select one):
External meeting and conference
Seminar X
Study visit (12 members)
a) Title and subject matter of the proposed activity:
European regions as a smart tourist destination for regional development.
This seminar is about reflecting, with the help of best practices, on how innovative digital tools can
help promote tourism as a key element for growth and employment in the EU’s regions.
b) Link between the proposed activity and the work programme and political priorities of the
NAT commission and the CoR:
The tourism sector is a priority of the current CoR (2015-2020) and NAT commission mandates.
Digital tourism, in particular, is a priority for the NAT commission. Job creation and sustainable
growth of the regions aimed at improving people's quality of life is a key CoR objective. Tourism
plays a central role in developing many European regions, including the Region of Murcia, given its
potential for job creation and the positive knock-on effect for a large set of productive activities.
Boosting the competitiveness of the European tourism sector could make an significant contribution to
the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, particularly its flagship
initiative “An industrial policy for the globalisation era”.
c) Political objective of the proposed activity:
Tourism contributes to areas such as employment, sustainable development, the enhancement of
natural and cultural heritage and shaping the European identity, and plays a key role in regional and
local development. As has already been pointed out, boosting tourist activity has the potential to make
a significant contribution to the Europe 2020 strategy.
In March 2014, the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia adopted the research and
innovation strategy for smart specialisation in the Murcia region (RIS Mur). RIS3 is a strategy
that regions can use for their economic development through targeted support for research and
innovation. Drawing up this strategy involves identifying the region’s competitive advantages, setting
strategic priorities and implementing policies that maximise the development potential based on
knowledge and innovation. RIS3 Mur has identified tourism as a high-potential sector for the Region
of Murcia.
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d) Strategic relevance of the proposed activity (interinstitutional calendar, NAT activities):
In July 2010, the European Commission published its Communication Europe, the world's No 1
tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe. This communication sets out
the following strategic priorities for European tourism:
Stimulate competitiveness in the European tourism sector;
Reduce the seasonal nature of tourism;
Promote development of innovation in the area of tourism;
Promote the development of sustainable, responsible and high-quality tourism;
Use EU financial instruments in the area of tourism.
The January 2011 plenary session saw the adoption of the opinion on Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist
destination: a new political framework for tourism in Europe, the rapporteur for which was Ramón
Luis Valcárcel, former president of the Region of Murcia and the Committee of the Regions. This
opinion strongly welcomes the Commission’s desire to deal with tourism policy in a coordinated and
integrated way by linking it to other policies such as transport, agriculture and environmental
protection policies, information and communication technologies, social policy and culture etc., and
supports the general objective of coordinating efforts and initiatives related to tourism in order to
create a competitive, modern, sustainable and responsible tourism sector.
The December 2014 plenary saw the adoption of the opinion on A European Strategy for more
growth and jobs in coastal and maritime tourism, for which the reference text was the Commission
communication on the same subject. In this document the CoR stresses the need for European coastal
and maritime regions to develop local strategies aimed at promoting distinctive local features, thus
increasing their visibility as tourist destinations based on their uniqueness.
The Commission’s priorities for the year 2015 regarding the tourism sector include digital tourism
and cruise tourism. According to the NAT commission's programme for 2015, the commission is
expected to follow up on its opinion on coastal and maritime tourism and continue to cooperate
with the European Commission on issues such as innovation clusters in the tourism sector and the role
of the cruise industry.
The working document on Age-friendly tourism will be presented at the next meeting of the NAT
commission on 21 September 2015 and is scheduled to be adopted in plenary in February 2016.
e) Added value of proposed activity:
The aim of the seminar is to present the NEXO project: a platform for managing the Region of
Murcia as a smart tourist destination.
With NEXO we have created a single space where public and private industry can combine efforts in
promoting, marketing and managing a given tourist destination for the benefit of all stakeholders in the
regional economy; all of this takes account of new technologies which can be used to maximise the
amount of useful information available, which in turn helps strategically and tactically when making
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decisions related to tourism. This includes both decisions made using a territorial cluster-based
approach, as well as those made by the privates firms operating therein, seeking an efficient way to
cooperate and coordinate.
1.- Why a smart tourist destination?
In the current competitive environment, tourist destinations and enterprises are faced with the
challenge of optimising processes, cooperating and making joint decisions, and above all,
maximising the amount of valuable information they have for strategic and tactical decisionmaking and using it to make ever smarter, more effective, efficient and synergy-based
decisions that enable them to compete sustainably in the long term.
Likewise, decisions related to investments aimed at improving the competitiveness of the
sector or destinations can nowadays be based on a greater quantity and quality of crosschecked information. This information is highly valuable as it uses data mining approaches, an
analysis of indicators based on the concept of big data, additionally adding the relevant
information regarding the reputation of the tourist activity generated online.
2.- What is a smart tourist destination?
A smart destination is one that:
a) is committed to its natural, cultural and socio-economic environment, and where
infrastructure is equipped with advanced technological solutions to enable interaction
between tourists and the destination. Smart destinations gather relevant information which
enables them to learn and continuously improve in a way that is coordinated and in
synergy with the territory, before making strategic and tactical decisions.
b) develops tools geared towards the tourism policy of the destination that encourage a new
way of managing a destination.
c) is able to develop methods for producing new products, services and tourist experiences
on the market.
3.- NEXO objectives: The Region of Murcia as a smart tourist destination
The objectives to be achieved through NEXO are:
Enhance the competitiveness of SMEs in the tourist sector in the Region of Murcia.
Transform the sector by improving its position nationally and internationally.
Facilitate the coordination of public and private industry to promote, market and manage
the destination, including for the benefit of regional economy stakeholders.
Secure a single space that offers as much useful information as possible to help with
strategic and tactical decision-making in tourism matters. This includes both decisions
made using a territorial cluster-based approach, as well as those made by the private firms
operating therein, seeking an efficient way to cooperate and coordinate.
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Establish a consistent framework that allows innovations from other tourist destinations to
be incorporated and promotes technological and sustainable development and the creation
of holistic tourist experiences.
4.- A platform with integrated technological tools for the benefit of the sector
The technological tools available to businesses include:
RITMO - management of the Region of Murcia's tourist office network
HERMES - marketing platform. Includes a “channel manager” incorporating 50 OTAs,
private-label central reservation system, inclusion on the websites of the destination, the
local area or associations, etc. The tool enables the marketing of all types of tourist
SABUESO: Competitor price monitor
ARO: calculates RevPar and ADR
Analysis of competitiveness at local, regional and national levels
Destination “app” with marketing option
Standardisation of tourism resources, with the option for these to be modified by all
News management
Route and trail manager
Satisfaction surveys
System of indicators and statistics
Online reputation management
News and project management
Business-to business (B2B) meetings
The HERMES marketing platform is currently available for use at
eCalypso aims to strengthen trans-national tourism between the various European countries
undertaken by the following types of tourists: young people, families experiencing difficulties,
elderly people and people with disabilities.
eCalypso is designed for organisations that coordinate trips for individuals or groups, as well
as for accommodation providers, particularly during low season. These organisations must
subscribe to the values related to social tourism laid out in the eCalypso ethical charter. The
platform offers a large quantity of information on social tourism in Europe, including
publications, best practices, news and general information on the eCalypso initiative. eCalypso
also serves as a meeting place of supply and demand via a marketing module (HERMES),
which is accessible to all members; in short, it is a meeting place for anyone working in the
European social tourism industry.
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f) Political Context:
Please indicate if there are any elections planned within 3 months before and/or after the event,
and if so, the date and type of election (e.g. local, regional, national).
g) Elections planned: Yes / No
Date(s) of these elections: December 2015
Type: National elections
h) Additional comments: This model could be applied to other European regions
Proposed place: Murcia
Indicative date: March/April 2016
Proposed by (name of member):
Manuel Pleguezuelo Alonso
Director-General Civic Participation, the EU and External Action
Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia
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end September/beginning October 2016
Type of activity proposed:
a) Title and subject matter of the proposed activity:
Working Title:
Implementation of Sustainable Innovative projects in Coastal towns: Regions
leading the Way
This seminar will focus on how small towns across Europe can be the key to implementing the
objectives and measures by which the CoR, and more especially the NAT commission, can promote
their policies and action plans. It will demonstrate concrete examples of how European funding
together with local financial contributions can create sustainable changes to the fishing industry, such
as the Hastings fleet which is the largest under 10 metre beach launched fishing fleet in Europe, with
innovative ways in which to maintain local natural open spaces and SSSI’s together with supporting
and engaging with the local cultural diversity of being a small fishing town which had one of the most
famous battles in the history of Europe in 1066, and how this supports the local economy and creates
local jobs.
b) Link between the proposed activity and the work programme and political priorities of the
NAT commission and the CoR:
This seminar will link very nicely with the NAT commission objectives to look at working examples
of sustainable projects bringing life to struggling coastal economies, with innovative ways of
diversifying delivery of programmes following changes to the CAP and CFP whilst encompassing the
culturally diverse environment in which those areas are trying to work. This links with the political
agenda of the CoR in demonstrating that direct financial support to local villages, towns and coastal
areas, can implement quickly, innovatively, in a self-sustaining way, the CoR policy objectives and
priorities through the local government structures.
c) Political objective of the proposed activity:
This seminar will demonstrate ways in which the CoR can put regional and local authorities at the
heart of designing and implementing European policies whilst demonstrating the CoR driving force
for building strong cross-border joint working. The examples will feed into the discussions around the
changes in the CAP and how that directly affects our towns and villages and how the implementation
of changes to the CFP can support sustainable local action on fishing giving real narrative to the
discussions as part of the CoR ongoing priorities and work programme.
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Finally I believe this will be a very constructive way of demonstrating different ways in which the
CoR can shape how it is to work in future and how this can feed into the Commission and the
decreasing activity that we now face.
d) Strategic relevance of the proposed activity (interinstitutional calendar, NAT activities):
This proposal is to give new ideas to the CoR on how important it is to have local representation in
Europe and more especially allow for a follow up opinion on how the CoR can feed back into the
European Commission and European Parliament the importance of the voices and experiences of the
smaller towns and villages in changes to future policies.
e) Added value of proposed activity:
The seminar will provide for CoR NAT members to see first-hand the difference that EU funding can
make directly to local communities and to demonstrate that regardless of the national political agenda,
there are ways that the CoR could perhaps adapt its work and encourage cross border partnerships to
deliver the environmentally sustainable objectives in the CoR programme.
f) Political context:
Please indicate if there are any elections scheduled within three months before and/or after
the event, and if so, the date and type of election (e.g. local, regional, national).
Elections planned: Yes
Date(s) of these elections: 5 May 2016
Type: local elections
g) Additional comments:
The seminar will be held in Hastings, East Sussex in the heart of the fishing community. Hastings has
direct train links to Ashford International for Eurostar users and to Gatwick Airport in London.
Proposed venue: The seminar would be in Hastings and 1066 Country.
Indicative date: end September/beginning October 2016 to coincide with the 950th anniversary of the
Battle of Hastings.
Proposed by (name of member): Emily Westley (UK/PES) (Hastings)
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