London, Apr.18 (ANI): An overseas holiday used to be thought of as a reward for a year's hard work, but Brussels has declared tourism a human right.
Under the scheme, British pensioners could be given cut-price trips to Spain, while Greek teenagers could be taken around disused mills in Manchester to experience the cultural diversity of Europe.
According to The Times, the idea behind the subsidized tours is the brainchild of Antonio Tajani, the European Union commissioner for enterprise and industry, who was appointed by Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister.
The scheme, which could cost hundreds of millions of pounds a year, is intended to promote a sense of pride in European culture, bridge the north-south divide in the continent and prop up resorts in their off-season.
Tajani, who unveiled his plan last week at a ministerial conference in Madrid, believes the days when holidays were a luxury have gone.
"Travelling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life," he said.
Tajani's program will be piloted until 2013 and then put into full operation. It will be open to pensioners and anyone over 65, young people between 18 and 25, families facing "difficult social, financial or personal" circumstances and disabled people. One person can accompany the disabled and the elderly.
In the initial phase, northern Europeans will be encouraged to visit southern Europe and vice versa.
Details of how participants are chosen have not yet been finalized, but it is expected the EU will subsidize about 30 percent of the cost. (ANI)