Ryanair has set out a five-point plan to increase European tourism by 10% by highlighting the benefits of budget airlines to lesser-known destinations.

An extra two million jobs could be created if EU countries took the necessary steps to encourage more Europeans to holiday in Europe, the airline’s marketing chief claimed.

Speaking at the Malta Tourism Conference, Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs emphasised how low-fare flights were a key driver of regional tourism and job creation.

He outlined a five-point plan to grow tourism by:
• Lowering airport costs and removing taxes on short haul travel within Europe
• Addressing the accommodation shortage that drives up prices by lowering costs and building more hotels
• Improving the marketing of EU destinations to encourage EU citizens to holiday in Europe
• Developing new regional resorts such as southern Italy and northern Spain
• Developing more year-round tourism and off-peak seasonal city break travel

Jacobs said: “As the largest airline in Europe, Ryanair urges EU countries to encourage more Europeans to holiday in Europe.

“By lowering airport costs and taxes, addressing the accommodation shortage, improving the marketing of EU destinations, promoting new regional resorts and developing a bigger year-round tourist season, European tourism can thrive and capitalise on a golden growth opportunity, at a time when European tourists are looking for alternative destinations given the decline in traffic to Turkish and North African resorts.

“Some 130 million people will fly with Ryanair across Europe this year and we have seen first-hand the regional tourism growth and job creation that low cost aviation brings, especially for Europe’s youth.

“This Ryanair effect has already paid dividends to regions across the EU. As demand for travel grows, aviation can further boost tourism by raising the profile of lesser known destinations.

“Tourism contributes up to 15% of European GDP each year, and supports over 12% of the jobs within the EU.

“Taking the right steps could see tourism grow by 10% next year, rather than the predicted 4%, which would create an additional two million European jobs.”