Industry Day 2023 – European Tourism Association AISBL (ETOA)
This week, at its first General Assembly and Industry Day in Brussels post-pandemic, ETOA will bring together its members, partners, and other stakeholders to discuss challenges facing tourism in Europe from public and private sector perspectives, and the policy issues arising as we chart our progress to Destination 2030.
Founded in 1989 to represent incoming tour operators who sold European holidays in long-haul markets, ETOA’s membership has evolved to includes suppliers throughout Europe and buyers from across the globe. These intermediaries range from micro-operators to global operators with sales offices in five continents. The suppliers run from single mountain railways to multinational hotel chains. The membership includes 100 destination management organisations and 23 national tourist offices.
Today, these members are part of an international non-profit association in Brussels. This assures ETOA’s standing in the EU while maintaining its commercial and operational capacity through its UK-based company. The shift of control to the EU was a response to political reality; it is also an opportunity.
“One of our strengths,” said Tom Jenkins, CEO of ETOA, “is that we are a European organisation with direct links to those who deliver the European experience to international clients. This interaction enables us to have a rapid comprehension of the difficulties faced by those bringing billions of Euros of export earnings to Europe. These involve everything from cross border services to VAT regulations, visa regimes and border formalities. These are of huge significance to inbound tourism, and all flow from EU frameworks. So, while we engage closely with policy makers across Europe, it is to Brussels that we look to maintain our position as the world’s favourite destination. “
“This shift of control to Brussels formalises ETOA’s position at the heart of European tourism” said Jennifer Tombaugh, President of ETOA. “We have had a strong presence there for over thirty years, and were founder members of NET and the European Tourism Manifesto. We work closely with both the European Travel Commission and NECSTouR. We have delivered projects for the Commission on global inbound demand for Europe, running workshops and conferences in ten different European locations, as well as events in North America and China.”
“Organisations must adapt to remain relevant and effective. Brussels is where strategic decisions are made on regulation and promotion. It is also where the funding and delivery mechanisms for the green and digital transitions are made. Most of our members are based in the EU, and the EU is where much European product is delivered. Making Brussels our home reflects our members interests and our priorities as an organisation, working closely with our partners to deliver better tourism in Europe.”