The European Commissioner responsible for tourism, Mr. Christos Papoutsis, highlighted the importance of tourism for the European economy when he addressed the World Travel and Tourism Council in Brussels on 20 April 1995. Declaring tourism to be one of the "bright spots" of the European economy, the Commissioner highlighted the importance of taking into account all the other elements necessary for the development of tourism, such as transport, telecommunications, infrastructures and services. These economic activities not only provide growth and jobs, but also contribute to the regional development in Europe. The Commissioner stressed that the development of the tourist industry all over Europe is directly linked to the development of the trans-European networks of transport, telecommunications and energy. He suggested that the EU, the Member States and the private sector should include these sectors in their immediate future investment plans. Mr. Papoutsis also highlighted the importance of tourism for the economic development of Central and East European countries, which have opened up new possibilities for the European tourist industry and provided considerable room for expansion. Cooperation in the field of tourism is also an important aspect of the new Mediterranean partnership, which is at present being discussed in view of the Mediterranean conference which will take place in Barcelona later this year. The Commissioner also said that Europe needs to take full advantage of all the possibilities offered by the development of the information society and to use it to develop tourism. In addition, he identified the important relationship between tourism and environmental protection. The aim is to show that tourism, instead of destroying the environment, should provide the funds for its protection and restoration.