The incredible beauty, cultural wealth and huge diversity of the European Union’s coastal zones have made them the best-loved destination for lots of holidaymakers in the continent and overseas, making coastal tourism an essential tourism sector. It employs over 3.2 million people in the EU and this sector creates a total of €183 billion in gross value added and standing for over one third of the maritime economy. Over half of bed capacity in European hotels is focused in areas with a sea border.
As part of the European Union’s Blue Growth strategy, the coastal tourism sector has been noted as a zone with particular potential to foster a smart, green and inclusive Europe. It is the largest maritime sector in gross value added and employment and it is expected to grow by 2-3% by 2020. Many places in the UK which have received recent increases in tourism include cities such as Durham.
The European Maritime Day (EMD) 2013 centred on coastal tourism and it was the chance to introduce the results of a public consultation which prepared a communication on coastal and maritime tourism. The EU Commission adopted a communication on "A European Strategy for more Growth and Jobs in Coastal and Maritime Tourism" in February 2014, offering a new strategy to enhance maritime tourism in the continent in order to release the potential of this promising sector.