ETOA Newsletter, December 2021

This Newsletter includes updates on:

  • Tourism and Tax
  • Climate Action: The Glasgow Declaration
  • Travel Restrictions
  • ETOA Events
  • ETOA Insight Hub
  • ETOA Featured Members
  • Partners and events

Tourism and Tax

Germany and VAT

On 24th November, news started to circulate that the proposed change in VAT treatment of non-EU agents and operators has been further postponed to 1st January 2023. At time of writing, we await official notification from the Federal Finance Ministry, but this move has been expected. A letter received by ETOA from the Ministry last week indicated that ‘discussions were continuing’. It was clear from our lobbying activity that both inbound associations and regional governments were very concerned. This represents a success for a concerted lobbying effort: postponement a pragmatic and politically palatable option. But the goal is still to ensure that all EU states await an EU-wide resolution. Maintaining European competitiveness in its source markets remains a core ETOA priority.

Assuming implementation is delayed, there is still much to do. The good news is that product delivered during 2022 will not be subject to new sales tax, and the requirement for VAT registration is less urgent. However, operators and agents preparing programmes and product for 2023 still face the same commercial uncertainty. Will sales made in 2022 for product delivered in 2023 be subject to a new tax? We await confirmation. 2023 is widely expected to be the year when recovery is consolidated. Unnecessary obstacles must be avoided.

In the new year, we understand that the European Commission intends to conduct another short study on various options for VAT and tourism ahead of a legislative proposal in 2023. Unilateral changes introduced meanwhile could be counter-productive, even if they were enforceable. How any country would justify the cost of the administrative resources needed to engage in tax collection on a global basis is an open question. It ought to be an easy question to answer if a consequence of the regime requiring such resources would be a net loss of tax revenue. ETOA’s latest position paper is available here.


Climate Action: The Glasgow Declaration

ETOA was a launch partner and is supporting signatory of the Glasgow Declaration. This is a consensus-building initiative, officially launched at COP26, which sets out the key elements of climate action planning: measure; decarbonise; regenerate; collaborate; finance. It calls for public commitment and action in tourism to cut emissions at least in half over the next decade and reach Net Zero emissions as soon as possible before 2050. For more information and to become a signatory, please click here.

International Travel Restrictions

The travel restrictions database on our COVID-19 resources page is reviewed regularly. The content covers border entry requirements for tourists and in-destination certification requirements for each EU and EFTA member state and the United Kingdom (35 countries in total). Weblinks in columns H&I also provide the latest official information on measures introduced in-destination.

On 22nd November ETOA, together with other European tourism stakeholders, issued a statement calling for urgent coordination of EU and member state response to the current epidemiological situation. Images of street protests and cancellation of Christmas markets during the run-up to the Thanksgiving holiday, when many Americans consider where to travel the next year, are unfortunate PR for European inbound in one of its most important markets. But they distract from an important fact: vaccinated travellers pose very little risk. This is not wishful thinking on the part of the travel industry, it is evidence-based analysis from the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC). The prospects for recovery in 2022 are supported by increased vaccination uptake across Europe, as well as strong demand from visitors willing to take tests and carry the health credentials required at borders and in destination.

On 25th November, the European Commission published proposed recommendations to member states (including EFTA states) on travel restrictions within the EU/EFTA and travel to EU/EFTA. The recommendations are intended to take effect on 10th January 2022 following adoption (and any amendment) by the European Council. While the recommendations are non-binding, the hope is that they will be widely adopted. Key recommendations, based on ECDC data, include a limit of 9 months between final dose of vaccine (from primary vaccination series) and acceptance of certificate. A time limit has not been set for the booster vaccine dose. Further information on the recommendations can be found on our COVID-19 resources page.

In-destination restrictions

While restrictions affecting international travel take the headlines, it is in-destination regulations and requirements that will have the most significant effect on tourism operations in 2022. The recent decision by France to require non-EU visitors, whose vaccination certificate does not conform with EU DCC framework and is not machine readable, to have the certificate converted in person at a pharmacy. This adds unnecessary cost and complexity. Previously, this could be done online at no cost pre-departure. Italy’s ‘proximity law’, whose strict interpretation would appear to require the quarantine of travel companions of an individual who tests positive, is already having a deterrent effect on inbound business. ETOA understands that the European Commission, through the office of Commissioner Breton, will discuss the matter with the ministry responsible for tourism in Italy.

Other considerations aside, operators need to know whether client insurance will cover additional costs should an extended stay be enforced. Equally, a client who tests negative and can prove that at airport check-in may decide to take their chances and leave: the airlines would have no way of knowing the circumstances of another group member.

Passenger Locator Forms: scope for more harmonisation

Given the relative success of the EU’s DCC, which is fast becoming the international standard for vaccination certificates, it is curious that there is not wider uptake within the EU of the digital passenger locator form, whose development was EC-funded. At time of writing only Italy, Malta and Slovenia appear on the common platform. From the perspective of non-EU and intra-EU travellers, international alignment would be welcome. Reluctance to adapt to what ought to be a common standard adds to the impression that restoration of cross-border travel is not a national political priority, despite ECDC evidence that fully-vaccinated negative-testing travellers pose no material risk.

ETOA Year in Review 2021

Access the online version here

Year in Review 2021

What did we work on in 2021 and what have we achieved? The year in review booklet provides a summary also including activities and plans for the coming year. Read more here

Multilingual pages

ETOA’s website now has landing pages to provide a short introduction to our activities for readers in French, German, Italian and Spanish.

German page

Find out more

Spanish page

Find out more

French page

Find out more

Italian page

Find out more


We are delighted to officially launch VIVA Mediterranean Marketplace, online Tuesday 5th of April 2022.
Showcasing the best of southern Europe, this event will bring together international tour operators and travel buyers to meet tourism product from the region in a one-day B2B workshop. VIVA Mediterranean Marketplace is designed for hidden gems and iconic tourism products which make this region so unique and appealing to European and long-haul international tourists. We will celebrate suppliers big and small and give more exposure than ever before to coastal, island and rural product as well as urban centres across the Mediterranean.

With over 360 international buyers ranging from niche tour operators, travel agents, OTAs and wholesalers and representing a great variety of markets including Japan, Korea, Canada, Brazil, Norway, Australia, Thailand, China, USA, South Africa, ETOA events and membership present a cost-effective way to rebuild international business and diversify the client base.

Registrations are open for our Winter events:

Britain & Ireland Marketplace
28th  January 2022 | London & 1st February 2022 | Online
Register here

The Nordic Marketplace
22nd-23rd February 2022 | Online
Register here

Check our latest statistics, opinion, and research pieces below and on the Insight Hub:

IATA International Passenger Demand for September 2021
Latest press release from IATA on air demand

ETC domestic and intra-European sentiment wave 9
The ninth wave of online research looking at the extent to which Europeans are planning travel, their concerns and what factors are likely to influence behaviour.  With fieldwork during September the study found sentiment to have remained high with 66% planning to travel between October 2021 and March 2022 and only 15% now saying they do not plan to travel due to COVID-19 (unchanged from the previous wave).

ETC trends and prospects Q3 2021
A comprehensive look at recent trends and near-term prospects for European tourism which confirms that Europeans did travel in substantial numbers during the peak summer months, but primarily on domestic or inter-regional trips, while long-haul tourism remained in the doldrums.   Included in this edition is a feature examining the possibility that the pandemic will have brought an end to an era of increasingly low-cost travel.

Expedia travel recovery Q3 2021
The latest Expedia Trends Report finds that travel search volumes saw little overall change during Q3 but that there are encouraging signs of travellers’ willingness to visit cities showing improvements and an increase in business tourism demand.  The majority, 70%, of searches were for travel within a 0-30 day window.

STR Europe webinar Nov 21
The fifth STR webinar of 2021 to focus on how Europe’s hotel sector is performing provides a wealth of data and insight in the usual informative and entertaining style adopted by these webinars.  A positive tone is set   with a belief that many regions will have outperformed expectation in 2021, although not yet at pre-pandemic levels.

ETOA is proud to be home to over 1,200 members who trust us to help them do better tourism business in Europe. New ETOA members listed here include buyers from across Europe as well as the USA and Australia along with a wide range of leading European suppliers. We are excited to be welcoming a number of important new buyers from Mexico, Brazil and the Philippines amongst many others. These new tour operator and wholesaler members are all keen to do more business with our supplier members whilst also supporting our events, policy and research activities.

Full details of all our new members are available by clicking on the image below.


Fast track to recovery: find new partners through ETOA Membership

Our network of active and ambitious members is growing every month and we’d love you to join them. We have now introduced a new low rate for small businesses.

From multinationals to micro enterprises, they all use ETOA membership to do more and better business with each other. Our policy and insight materials help them make better decisions and stay informed. If you are interested to find out more about how cost effective ETOA membership can be, please click on the button below or contact the team at

Member information


Why is it so important for you to use your member portal? Because in just a few clicks, you can:
•    Update your company profile
•    Make changes to your information
•    Manage your invoices and payments

Login Here, check our portal help page or contact if you are having difficulties to log in.

Partner Events and Offers

Annual Day of Coach Tourism – 10 January 2022 – Wiesbaden, Germany

ETOA is proud to be the patron of the 40th Annual Day of Coach Tourism (Tag de Bustouristik), to be held in Wiesbaden on the 10th of January 2022.

The event will bring together coach operators and suppliers from Germany and across Europe to debate and explore the ‘new normal’ for coach tourism in a post-COVID world. A high class range of speakers have been lined up to contribute to the debate including politicians, media and industry leaders.

Topics that will be explored include the challenges and opportunities presented by the re-opening of the tourism sector, new approaches to customer acquisition and retention, access to funding for growth, and practical observations from the front line of coach tour operations.

Participation is free-of-charge to the travel trade. For more information or to register, please click here.