City tourism: Operators Update

July 2019

This month’s newsletter features important information about coach access restrictions in Paris (in place from July 2019), news about the Mona Lisa portrait’s location as well as an update on proposed coach plans in Amsterdam.

Updated information on city and local taxes in over 100 European destinations is now live on our website. This data is only available to members. As well as the tax rates, information on reductions and exemptions and links to official sources is included.



Following recent meeting of ETOA’s Advisory Council, expect to see more initiatives around market intelligence, particularly in respect of demonstrating the value and volume of business ETOA members bring to European destinations. Sustainability will be the main topic at this year’s summit in the Alps on 1 October entitled ‘Tourism in Transition’. If tourism is a success in Europe in 2030, what will we be doing differently?

With a new European Parliament sitting in Strasbourg on 4 July, ETOA together with its partners is calling for a new ‘intergroup’ at the Parliament to ensure better policy coordination as it affects tourism. To celebrate our 30th anniversary, on 2 July we hosted a networking drinks event for members and partners in our Brussels office.




Guiding: ETOA has been in contact with the authorities in Austria regarding the interference of local guides in Salzburg. They confirm that the professions of a tour manager and a tour escort are not regulated in Austria.

The activities of tour guides fall under the regulated trade “Fremdenführer” in Austria, which means a certain qualification is required by law. Core activities of tour guides are to show and explain the historic treasures and the artistic and cultural heritage of Austria. Tour guides from other EU-member states may perform these activities occasionally and temporarily. The conditions are:

• They are legally established in an EU / EEA state or Switzerland with the right to provide comparable services that you would like to provide in Austria.
• The relevant activity is regulated in the state of establishment/ you have a regulated education and training in this field OR
• They have provided the service in the state of establishment at least one year during the last ten years.

They will have to submit a “service notification” in advance to the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs. Please find forms and information on service notifications at this website.


Sarajevo – guiding: It has been reported that the Association of Tourist Guides of Sarajevo “Vučko” has been handing out flyers to tour managers leading groups in the city. The leaflet warns guides of a fine of up to BAM 5,000.00 for illegal guiding. It is important to note that the people handing out the flyers are not from the authorities despite they may look like that. We have been in contact with Vučko and they have reconfirmed. It is illegal to work as a local guide in Bosnia, but tour leaders and managers can legally lead groups through the city (e.g. to booked restaurants) without providing historical and local information. More information (in Bosnian) can be found here and here.


Paris – Louvre: Due to renovation works at the Louvre, the portrait of Mona Lisa will be moved from the Salle des Etats to a different section of the gallery from 17 July until the renovation finishes around mid-October 2019. The temporary exhibition room will be in the Medici Gallery, located on the 2nd floor of the Richelieu wing in room 801. The new location may increase visit time for guests who wish to see the portrait. More information can be found here in their press release.

Paris – low emission zones: From July 2019, all coaches are required to meet at least Crit’Air 3 emission standard (in effect at least Euro 5 / registered from 1 Oct 2009) to enter the Central Paris ZCR low emission zone (within Boulevard Périphérique ring road) between 8am and 8pm 7 days a week. In addition, from July 2019 the new Greater Paris low emission zone ZFE starts (within A86 ring road plus small area beyond see map). The times of operation are the same as the Central Paris low emission zone and coaches complying to at least Crit’Air 4 are allowed (in effect at least Euro 4 / registered from 1 Oct 2006). Please read more about the Crit’Air scheme here including plans for future vehicle access in Paris.

Paris – Bastille day: On 14 July France will celebrate Bastille day. This can cause travel disruption and programmes may need to be amended. Information about museum closures and the parade on Champs-Elysées can be found here.


Rome working group: ETOA will be in Rome 17-18 July to hold meetings with members as well as local authorities. We will hold our first Rome working group gathering local members to discuss challenges and possibilities for the city, including ticketing and crowd issues at the Colosseum and the Vatican museum as well as the coach plan introduced 01 January 2019. If you would like to hear more, please contact

Rome – ETOA drinks reception: ETOA will hold a networking drinks reception celebrating ETOA’s 30th anniversary. The reception will be held at Residenza di Ripetta on 18 July from 18:00-20:00. If you would like to attend, please contact Manuela Saccone. RSVP before 8 July.


Amsterdam – guiding/speaking in Dam Square: It has been reported that a tour manager has been approached and warned by the authorities in Dam Square when speaking to a group. Dam Square is a part of the De Wallen area in Amsterdam where guiding is restricted (max 20 pax per group, no guiding after 19:00 and a permit is required). Up until now our understanding was that the authorities were not enforcing these rules at the square as strictly as in the Red Light District, but this may now have changed. Information about the regulation can be found here.

Amsterdam – coach plan: As mentioned in previous newsletters, Amsterdam Gemeente are planning to restrict coach access in the city. V&OR (Verkeer & Openbare Ruimte), the Gemeente’s traffic department has presented their plans for the city. The plans are still under consultation/construction and should be finalised by the end of the year, but a suggestion is that only low-emission mini coaches (less than 7.5 ton) with special permits would be allowed in the centre by 2022.


London – car free day: London has joined the World Car-Free Day (UN initiative) and will close roads on 22 September 2019 in at least 18 Boroughs. More information can be found here.


A reminder that this month, Ireland will host 2 major golf tournaments at courses near to the Cliffs of Moher and Giant’s Causeway. Traffic management plans will be in place and delays are possible. 1-7 July Irish Open at Lahinch, County Clare – The road to the Cliffs of Moher from Lahinch in the south will be closed to all traffic. To access the cliffs from the south, continue north on the N85 from Ennis through Ennistymon on N67 before turning left at Lisdoonvarna for R478. Access from the north is not restricted.

14-21 July The Open Championship at Portrush, County Antrim – The official traffic management plan is published here. Access is not prevented to any attractions on the Causeway Coast, but road closures will be in place. Approximately 200,000 spectators are attending the event so traffic delays in the area are possible, especially on tournament days 18-21 July.


Barcelona: ETOA was in Barcelona in June, attending the MED sustainable tourism conference, hosting one of our 30th anniversary drinks receptions as well as holding our bi-annual working group. We also held meetings with the city hall and Sagrada Familia.

We would like to thank members participating in both the drinks reception and the working group. Due to feedback from the working group, we are now instigating contact with various attractions in and around Barcelona with regards to access and ticketing, including Park Guell, Picasso museum and Girona city hall regarding new parking areas and limited facilities. If you would like to hear more about our policy work in Spain, please contact

Destination and Policy update

 Receive the latest news on operational developments in destinations across Europe



This content is exclusive to ETOA members

Login here to access it now


Forgot your password?

Not a member yet?


The ETOA membership opens invaluable networking opportunities to your business, allows you to gain access to critical insights and information and contributes to the campaign for a better regulatory environment in Europe.

  • Connect with the global travel trade
  • Stay informed of insights, regulations and changes
  • Be supported in shaping the tourism landscape
Enquiry now