ETOA celebrates 30 years in Brussels as new European Parliament opens

  • ETOA calls for a more co-ordinated approach to policy-making for tourism

 Coinciding with the re-opening of the European Parliament, the European Tourism Association (ETOA) held a 30th year anniversary drinks in Brussels on 2 July for 70 guests who included members such as Expedia and Visit Flanders, and industry partners including ECTAA, ETC, CELTH, Hotrec, IAAPA and NECSTouR.

ETOA has marked its 30th year of supporting its operator members who sell Europe worldwide by building on its presence in Brussels and growing of its network of country representatives, now in France, Italy and Spain, as well as developing working groups in Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, Paris, Rome and Venice.

This year ETOA has also grown its membership to over 1100.

Since 1989, ETOA, on behalf of its members, has lobbied policy makers in Europe, on issues including visas, tax, and cross-border service issues. To these it has added a new focus on sustainability.

New content on those policy issues can be found on, including detailed information about tourism taxes in over 100 destinations across Europe.

Jean-Philippe Monod de Froideville, Vice-President, Government & Corporate Affairs (EMEA, APAC, LATAM), Expedia Group and ETOA Advisory Council member said: “The visitor economy is vital to European success.

“At a time of institutional change and political uncertainty we need to keep focus on this job-generating sector to support innovation and ensure Europe’s competitiveness as a place to do business and a place to visit.

“Despite advances in the single market and digital single market, national variation remains, adding complexity. EU-level policy such as visa facilitation and platform regulation contrasts with highly localised issues relating to city taxes, ‘overtourism’ and capacity optimisation.

“ETOA’s presence in Brussels and key destination markets, together with its wide membership and strategic alliances on promotion and sustainability, makes a valuable contribution at all levels. We’re delighted to join in celebrating its 30th anniversary.”

Tim Fairhurst, Secretary General of ETOA in Brussels said: “As we look ahead to 2030, what will we have done differently to ensure tourism remains a success? We call on policy makers at all levels, from EU to city hall, to take a co-ordinated approach to tourism strategy in the long-term interests of destinations, communities and visitors, and the job-generating industry we represent. We urge the European Parliament to maintain an ‘intergroup’ on tourism to ensure adequate policy co-ordination and scrutiny.

In closing, Tom Jenkins, ETOA’s CEO, said: “30 years ago, a handful of companies founded ETOA because the interests of a very important group of people needed a strong voice in Europe: visitors who come from around the world. Today, they are just as important, but just as often derided or dismissed. We are delighted that we continue to grow ETOA to reflect a fast-changing industry and have built a strong team to support our members, but throughout ETOA’s 30 years, the one constant has been that our members sell Europe in a worldwide market.

“We are constantly reminded that visitors have a choice – and the biggest risk to tourism in Europe is to take them for granted. Together with strategic partners such as ETC, we are here to ensure that tourism receives the recognition and support it deserves.”