13th Baltic Sea Tourism Forum opens

The 13th Baltic Sea Tourism Forum (BSTF) was launched on 10 November. It is one of the events of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States. The four-day forum discusses the current tourism situation in the Baltic Sea Region, possible actions and initiatives aimed to overcome unforeseen challenges; it will also cover the importance of sustainable, smart and local tourism.

One day of the Forum is dedicated to a high-level meeting aimed to discuss measures planned for the recovery of tourism and a more stable future for this sector. The forum will also host the first Sustainable Tourism Award of the Baltic Sea Region organised by the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania.

‘The tourism sector is extremely strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and is facing unprecedented challenges meanwhile, so therefore it is very important to discuss the most pressing issues relating to the pandemic. We feel responsible for the future of our region and Europe as a whole, so we encourage the digitisation of tourism, promotion of innovation, making unique tourism offers and sharing best practices. Lithuania, like other countries, has taken various measures to ensure the liquidity of the tourism sector and promote its recovery. This year, nearly EUR 50 million has been earmarked for this purpose. A similar amount is foreseen for tourism in the DNA Plan for the Future Economy next year. I believe that this forum will strengthen relations between the countries of the Baltic Sea Region, encourage closer cooperation and contribute significantly to the strengthening of security, stability and prosperity in the region and throughout Europe,’ Rimantas Sinkevičius, Minister of the Economy and Innovation of theRepublic of Lithuania said.

The Baltic Sea Tourism Forum, organized online for the first time, brought together more than 200 tourism community representatives from 11 countries.

The Forum will be attended by Heads of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the European Commission, the European Travel Commission and the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

The main topics of the Forum’s discussions and presentations include: the impact of COVID-19 on tourism in the region, new tourism trends, new tourism business models, tendencies in digitisation, tourism innovation and smart tourism. It is also planned to discuss the travel ways and needs of the younger generation and other topics.

The global tourism market is among the markets of consumer goods and services most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of international travels is expected to fall by 60 % this year, and the fall may be even higher due to the entry into force of new restrictions.

The Council of the Baltic Sea States is a cross-border regional political forum whose main objective is to promote integration processes and establish closer relations in the region. Today, the Council covers all areas of intergovernmental cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region, with the exception of military defence. Eleven countries are members of the Council: Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, Norway, Russia, Finland, Sweden and Germany. Lithuania will chair the Council of the Baltic Sea States until the middle of next year. This forum is one of the events of the Presidency of the Council of Baltic Sea States, and tourism has been declared a priority of the Presidency.

The detailed programme of the Forum and more information is available here.