ETOA Newsletter, February 2021

This Newsletter includes:

  • Roadmap for recovery
  • Brexit
  • Sustainability
  • Insight Hub
  • News on ETOA Membership and Events


Roadmap for recovery

This week, ETOA joined its partners in NET in issuing a press release which renewed calls for a more rational and coordinated approach to border restrictions, testing and other public health protocols. Industry is way ahead of the political machinery in terms of devising safe travel and service solutions which manage risk, allowing business to return once conditions permit. ETOA’s programme of 2021 events is attracting very strong demand from global buyers, and this years includes the new North American Marketplace. See Events below.

The suggestion that proof of vaccination should be a pre-condition for travel is bad policy and not scientifically supported. While individual service providers may choose to make proof of vaccination a requirement, it is not a practical measure for border control. Widespread vaccination will provide the long-term solution but may not prevent an individual carrying or transmitting the virus. Meanwhile, testing works, as do fit-to-fly certification and similar initiatives. What is required is improved testing capacity at affordable rates with faster turnaround, and insurance or other financial protection in the event a positive test from an individual or family/household member necessitates cancellation.

On 28th January, the European Commission announced an extension and expansion of the EU’s state aid framework to allow member states to provide more support to business until the end of 2021. Further information here. We will monitor developments at national level. To underscore pan-industry support for a more integrated approach to tourism and its place in recovery plans, the Tourism Manifesto will shortly publish a paper outlining concrete investment proposals which will benefit tourism and help to drive a broader recovery. This complements its previous paper on national recovery and resilience plans. Members states have until early April to submit their proposals.



Guidance online: Our Brexit post-transition page has been updated to reflect the ‘Trade and Cooperation Agreement’ between the EU and the UK. The agreement is provisional (pending ratification). It is not law and its implementation will entail various processes and arrangements not yet in place. Our Guiding Regulation page has also been updated with additional material. Topics negotiated in the Agreement included temporary mobility, air and road transport and reciprocal healthcare arrangements. For details see recent Policy update. We will publish further information and clarification when available. Please continue to contact with specific queries.


Impact on EU inbound tourism: temporary market access to the EU for UK national self-employed professionals such as tour guides will be subject to significant new barriers to all countries but Ireland, which remains in a common travel area with the UK. This change this will be keenly felt by clients and companies alike, as well as the individuals affected. Given the seasonal requirements of tourism, it is an open question whether the EU-26 (i.e. all but Ireland) should either review related immigration provisions to ensure inbound clients may receive the service they wish or introduce more flexibility in the market for tourism services, or both. It is notable that Switzerland is more flexible than the EU as regards market access for UK tourism professionals, see here.

While there is generally greater economic dependence on employers’ social contributions in the EU than in the UK, new measures to encourage entrepreneurial activity in the EU would support recovery in tourism. They would also provide opportunity to well-suited individuals for whom occasional tour guiding would be a valuable income supplement. It remains to be seen how the market will respond to meet client needs once cross-border demand returns. Confidence and safety are group operators’ primary concerns: those they contract to accompany their clients will be central to a successful recovery of European inbound tourism.




With recent announcement of radical policy shift in the USA, and nearly two-thirds of global respondents to a UN survey agreeing that climate change is a global emergency, climate policy and the EU’s Green Deal are certain to be central to Europe’s recovery strategies. For more on ETOA’s climate policy, click here.



Visit Scotland’s ground-breaking declaration in November showed strong leadership among Europe’s nations and regions. What does climate policy mean for destinations? Will success metrics for NTOs and DMOs’ budgets start to require proof that their development and promotional activity drives more sustainable travel decisions by visitors, thus more sustainable product development? If not, how will a successful transition be measured?

ETOA already partners with Athens in delivering its signature Travel Trade Athens event in April: it is also a destination with a strategic plan for a sustainable transition. Central to this is long-term thinking: tourism being part of and not adjacent to city planning, and alignment of local, regional and national agendas. Access to funding is essential for the investment needed to achieve dual benefit to communities and visitors. We will explore in more detail with Athens and their sustainability partner GSTC at a forthcoming webinar. Other destinations’ approach to sustainability seems focused on managing down volume and reducing the appeal to the ‘wrong’ kind of visitor. Amsterdam has recently published ‘Tourism In Balance’ which includes proposals to regulate the number of visitors to the city. While the overnight tourist tax remains the same for 2021 at 7% net cost of room plus €3 fixed rate, the new ideas include a very large tax increase, as well as other measures in relation to P2P short-term rental and nationality requirements for purchasing permitted drugs. The use and efficacy of tourist tax as a control mechanism (as well as revenue stream) is highly controversial, especially if it disproportionately affects those on a lower budget: accessibility is a key element of UNESCO requirements for designated world heritage destinations.


Insight Hub

We have recently updated our Insight Hub, where we provide up-to-date research and actionable insight for our members and partners. New content this month includes:

  • ECM Benchmarking Survey The freely available Executive Summary provides a glimpse into the much more detailed analysis available from the full purchasable report. The summary highlights that 2019 was a year of growth for European city destinations, that this growth outstripped regional performance and that all major source markets generated increased levels of visitation than in 2018.
  • ETC Q3 Trends and Prospects Report A regular report produced by European Travel Commission that is packed with commentary, tables and charts looking at the performance of Europe during the third quarter of 2020.
  • ETC Travel Sentiment Wave 3 Domestic and Intra-European The third of six planned waves of online research looking at the extent to which Europeans are planning travel, their concerns and what factors are likely to influence behaviour.
  • UNWTO Tourism Barometer Update A comprehensive 12-page summary of how international tourism has been performing in different markets during 2020, revealing a likely decline of 70%-75% globally by the end of 2020


Fast track to recovery: find new partners through ETOA Membership

ETOA is focused on providing support for its members through access to guidance, contacts, networking events and information. To support companies impacted by the current crisis and to help in the business recovery through 2021, we have launched new buyer and supplier offers. For more information about our current offers see here or contact the team at



Last chance to register for the Nordic Marketplace

Registrations are closing on 5th February for the Nordic Marketplace, the key B2B event for the region in Q1 and the only workshop dedicated to pan-Nordic and Baltic tourism. Organised by ETOA and The Nordic Tourism Collective, this online workshop connects Nordic and Baltic suppliers with quality buyers from across Europe and other international markets, all ready and eager to resume business to the region. Register as soon as possible to secure your place at this unique event.


New North American Marketplace

The North American Marketplace is ETOA’s B2B workshop dedicated to selling Europe to the outbound North American market. The events brings together European destinations, travel suppliers and intermediaries with buyers and agents serving the clients from the USA and Canada. Find out more and register >