The characteristics of millions of SMEs, the way they operate, the growing employment they sustain, their collective influence over the quality of tourism products and destinations, and how to influence their development is arguably the most important issue for European tourism as we approach the millennium. This paper is based on a three‐day conference, Agenda 2010, convened by the Wales Tourist Board (WTB) and held at Llandudno in May 1998 during the UK Presidency of the EU. The meeting, supported by DGXXIII and the Welsh Office, was designed to highlight the contribution of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to European tourism and make recommendations for facilitating and supporting their activities in the future. SMEs are defined by the EC as businesses employing less than 250 employees although the great majority in tourism employ less than 10. Most readers will know that DGXXIII has separate responsibilities within the EC for SMEs and for tourism.
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