ETOA Newsletter, May 2021

This Newsletter includes:

  • Roadmap for recovery
  • Brexit and travel industry
  • Multilingual content on
  • Sustainability
  • Insight Hub News on ETOA
  • ETOA Featured members
  • Membership and Events
  • Partners Events and Offers

Roadmap for recovery

Travel Restrictions

Long-haul leisure travellers with suitable health credentials are starting to arrive in Europe. Some countries are already open, subject to conditions, such as Croatia. Greece plans to open its tourism industry mid-May; border restrictions from some countries have already been lifted. Iceland has recently announced a change to border measures until 1st June (further information here). EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen indicated in a recent interview with the New York Times that vaccinated US visitors will be welcome. This represents a significant development as the priority had been restoration of internal mobility within the EU.

ETOA’s long-haul buyers are reporting strong demand, and a willingness to compress standard cancellation periods to keep open the possibility of significant summer volume. More one-country visits are expected to minimise uncertainty of border crossing once in destination. Access to sites and supply-chain readiness are being urgently reviewed. ETOA’s CityFair event on June 8th has attracted an unprecedented range of buyers looking for European product in a fast-evolving market: a list of companies currently registered available via event page.

For an overview of current travel restrictions in Europe, the UNWTO and IATA have combined existing resources to launch the Destination Tracker, displaying current border protocols and health indicators/restrictions in destination. The tracker links to national government webpages and Re-Open EU. Another resource has been developed by Sherpa which includes a colour coded map to reflect border controls from a specific origin market including transiting.

Health Credentials


There is a perceived risk of fragmentation as individual countries define requirements for access, but it is important not to exaggerate the problem. Multilateral agreement on health credentials is within reach, meanwhile most international travel will be to single destinations. The EU’s Digital Green Certificate (DGC) is making progress through the regulatory machinery following last week’s agreement of technical specifications. The DGC does not confer a right to travel: it is intended to streamline related process, e.g. flight check-in online, thus minimise delay at airports.

The DGC will also allow non-vaccinated travellers to display proof of a recent test or prior infection. Anomalies persist: there is not yet a uniform age at which children are expected to be tested, nor a common policy on requirements of transit passengers who remain airside en route to a destination for which they have the appropriate health credentials.

Industry lobbying remains focused on ensuring it will be inter-operable with other international systems. ETOA joined aviation, travel and tourism partners in a press release on 29th April welcoming the European Parliament’s approval (with suggested amendments) of the regulatory proposal for the DGC. These amendments include:

  • A new name, “EU COVID-19 Certificate”
  • Free and accessible testing for EU citizens within the EU
  • Full equality among vaccinated and tested citizens: No additional measures such as quarantine or further testing should be imposed on travellers presenting a valid “EU COVID-19 Certificate”.

Trilogue negotiations between the Parliament, the Council and the European Commission will now take place. The ambition is for the DGC to begin  implementation by EU member states in June.

Scientific research

The ECDC published last week their interim guidance on the benefits of full vaccination against COVID-19. Findings include:

  • requirements for testing and quarantine of travellers (if implemented) and regular testing at workplaces can be waived or modified for fully vaccinated individuals as long as there is no or very low level circulation of immune escape variants (in the community in the country of origin, in the case of travellers).
  • when fully vaccinated individuals meet other fully vaccinated individuals (very low/low risk), physical distancing and the wearing of face masks can be relaxed.

United Kingdom

In early May, the UK Government is expected to announce a change to international travel from/to England from/to outside the Common Travel Area. This will include the implementation of a traffic light system arriving into England (and announcing initial country classification) and lifting the ban on residents in England travelling for tourism. Travellers from ‘green countries’ arriving into England will require a pre-departure test (Antigen or PCR) and a negative test on day 2 after arrival (PCR only) but would be exempt from quarantine in England. Testing requirements will be reviewed on 28th June and 31st July. Further information will be published here. 

For multi-country tours within the UK, visitors need to arrive and remain in England for 10 days before travelling to Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales to avoid quarantine in respective country. This may change during the summer. We await announcements from the devolved administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales as to whether they will align with the UK Government on international travel and its traffic light system.

e-Visas for Europe

The European Commission is consulting on options to minimise or remove need for paper-based visas and application materials. This is welcome, and very timely now that border formalities may soon include health credentials: both fundamental to restoring international mobility. The five options under consideration are set out on page three of this consultation document. The public consultation (closing 3rd June) is available here.

Brexit and the travel industry

The European Parliament has ratified the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which had provisionally been implemented from 1st January 2021. For guidance as to some of the implications of this agreement please see our Brexit Post-Transition page and the member-only guiding regulation page.

Travel to the UK: The UK Government has launched a consultation on implementing an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) (target date before January 2025). Closing date of consultation is 5th May 2021. This scheme will apply to visa waiver nationals (excluding Irish) entering the UK similar to ESTA in USA and ETIAS in EU. Details on cost and implementation date will be added to our visas and borders page when announced.

Travel from the UK to EU & EFTA states: For information on changes expected to be introduced from 2022, please see our visas and borders page. This includes the implementation of the Entry Exit System and ETIAS which affects travel for non-EU nationals to all EU member states except Ireland.

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


Climate Law and Action

A dramatic set of climate commitments and regulatory proposals was made within a week this month. On 17th April, the US and China published a joint statement. On 20th April, the UK announced its intention to legislate for a carbon emissions reduction of 78% compared to 1990 levels by 2035; international aviation and shipping emissions included. Whether the UK was on track to meet pre-existing binding targets was in doubt according to some independent analysis, so the additional commitment will entail rapid implementation. On 21st April, the EU‘s co-legislators (Council and Parliament) announced a provisional political agreement to legislate for a climate-neutral EU by 2050, and a net greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990. On 22nd April, the US and others made further climate action commitments.

The change needed by 2030 to meet these commitments is hard to overstate. While large organisations may have in-house capacity (and legal obligations) to manage and report carbon emissions. smaller companies often do not; the European tourism ecosystem is predominantly made up of micro and SMEs.

ETOA’s sustainability partnerships are designed to raise awareness of good practice and advice tailored to any organisation looking to make progress. The Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency initiative has been working with its academic and industry partners to develop a good practice sharing hub adapted for travel industry sub-sectors. Access will be open to all individuals and organisations who can commit to publish a climate action plan within 12 months of joining the initiative. For more on ETOA and climate, click here.

Calling all destinations!

ETOA recently spoke at the launch of a new EU project, BE.CULTOUR, intended to deliver tourism to diverse areas of Europe, an initiative aligned with industry’s need for more product options to complement established destinations and attractions in touring programmes. Organised by ERRIN, European Regions Research and Innovation Network, the initial goal is to identify 12 pilot programmes for support. Expressions of interest are welcome.

Much new material has recently been added to our Insight Hub, some of which is only accessible to members.  Recent additions include the following:

  • ALVA UK Attractions Recovery Tracker – The seventh wave of a sentiment tracker looking at the views of the attractions-going population in the UK. The numbers saying that they will return to visiting attractions once permitted continues to edge up while those saying they are unlikely to return for a long time edge down in number, but remain around one-in-three. A key learning is that those who have received a vaccine are less cautious about visiting attractions than others, providing signs of encouragement for later in the year.
  • IATA Air Traveller Response to Covid The fifth wave of sentiment tracking by IATA brings to the surface the opinions of recent fliers from 11 countries around the world. Findings include that two-thirds report restrictions have negatively impacted their quality of life, that 84% won’t travel if there is a chance of quarantine and nine-in-ten say that governments should standardise protocols relating to vaccination and testing.
  • ETC Long Haul Sentiment Wave 6 The sixth 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 February the study found sentiment to have improved slightly compared with the previous wave, a trend now becoming well established. Little change was found in what is worrying consumers (air travel, quarantine, getting sick while away) or those factors likely to encourage them to book travel (flexible cancellation policies, removal of travel restrictions and vaccine deployment).
  • IATA Press Release Updates Two new press releases on the latest monthly analysis on passenger demand and the latest forecast for 2021, and updated 2021 forecast
  • STR blog on barriers to travel A short blog article from STR shining a light on some of the findings from a recent poll of more than 1,300 global travellers. The article discusses the barriers influencing travellers’ decisions not to book or undertake overnight trips including government restrictions, the behaviour of other travellers and financial concerns such as the challenge of getting a refund.

ETOA is proud to be home to over 1,200 members who trust us to help them do better tourism business in Europe. On these pages we recognise our newest members and welcome them to our community. 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. Full details of all our new members are available by following the link 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. They use 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


Registrations for City Fair 2021 are closing on the 12th of May

Join us online on the 8th of June for a full day of B2B meetings dedicated to rethinking tourism strategy and develop new product ideas.

City Fair 2021 features the most global buyer line-up ever:

  • Operators are joining from as far and wide as North America, South-East Asia, Israel, Australia.
  • UK, Scandinavia, Germany, and Spain within the key European source markets covered.
  • They are eager to meet with European suppliers and destinations to plan for the return of clients.

Click here to see the list of confirmed delegates to date (with more joining every day!)

Save the date: Global European Marketplace – London 29th October 2021

Partners Events and Offers

Connecting tourism and rail: sustainability, challenges and business opportunities

Connecting tourism and rail: sustainability, challenges and business opportunities

Online, 18 MAY 2021, 12 :00-13:00 CEST

You are invited to join an online broadcast on the topic of rail leisure tourism on 18 May 2021, hosted in conjunction with TopRail and part of the European Year of Rail.

The purpose of this online event is to raise awareness and to encourage engagement between rail sector and trade actors in order to promote rail travel in the context of leisure tourism for European citizens and inbound visitors. Looking ahead to 2030, this discussion of industry experts will explore the opportunities for the sustainable development and recovery post-Covid 19. Against the background of the climate emergency, the creation and distribution of new leisure rail travel products will be discussed with best practice examples drawn from international and intra-European case studies. More info here.

Register now for ATM 2021

ATM 2021 is gradually getting closer and we are planning to all reunite in May. Have you registered to attend yet? This year ATM will run as a hybrid event with the in-person event taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 16-19 May 2021 and a virtual event including webinars and 1-2-1 video meetings will be taking place a week later from 24-26 May 2021. Click here to find out more.

ATM 2021 - Banner 300x250

Inspiretec is an established technology partner, providing digital solutions. With 28 years of experience, our technology-stack presents solutions for travel agents, tour operators, hotels and tourism. We are delighted to offer ETOA members a 3-month no obligation trial of our Travel-CRM. Please click here to take advantage of this offer!