Destination and Policy Update

November 2020



Financial support

Next Generation EU funding of €750 billion received Council support in late October; this includes the Recovery and Resilience Facility. Full statement here. It is vital that governments ensure that impact on tourism is factored into their plans, as well as any tourism-specific initiatives. For example, infrastructure projects that, properly planned, will support the sustainable development of tourism. With partners in the Tourism Manifesto, we continue to lobby to ensure tourism features in national plans: recent statement here. As restriction have increased to control the pandemic’s expected second peak in Europe, continued financial support across all parts of the supply chain, as well as for operators, is needed.

The UK government has extended its financial support mechanisms, in particular the Job Retention Scheme (‘furlough’) until 31 March 2021. More information here.

Border restrictions

On 28th October, the European Commission published ‘Guidance on persons exempted from the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU.’ This covers reasons, such as family emergencies, or categories, such as seafarers, healthcare and seasonal workers. For the latest on travel restrictions, please see our COVID-19 resources page which includes the EU’s Re-Open EU map covering EU27 and EFTA states. The UK Government have announced the formation of a Global Travel Taskforce to facilitate a recovery of international travel. This will include looking at the feasibility of proposals based on a single test taken after a period of self-isolation, provided by the private sector and at the cost of the passenger. The taskforce is expected to provide an initial report this month.


ETOA delivered a webinar on climate action and tourism on 22nd October, with input from private sector, UNWTO, and topic specialists. For more information, click here.

On 9th of November we participated in a UN event ‘Transforming tourism for a resilient and sustainable post-COVID world’. Later this month, we will be involved in OECD and Harvard workshops on the topic. This growth in activity is driven by sustainability’s increasing dominance among EU, national and local priorities, and the recognition that private sector insight is vital to develop effective policy.


The final terms of a post-Brexit deal remain uncertain, but some aspects of future arrangements are clear: UK citizens not resident in the EU, like other 3rd country visa waiver nationals, will be limited to 90 days for leisure in the Schengen zone in a rolling 180-day period. Developments in border security mean over-stays are likely to be noticed. Entry for purposes of work may still be subject to trade negotiations and subject to bilateral arrangements. While experience suggests that duration of stay is more important than purpose, the shortage of work for EU local guides and tour guides could influence local enforcement practice. While 3rd country nationals not resident in the EU have been able to provide services in the EU subject to national regulation, there is no right to do so if entering the area for leisure purposes under a visa-waiver. We will monitor closely. Similar issues remain for visa-requiring professionals such as Chinese nationals who are required to accompany groups under the terms of the Approved Destination Scheme.

As details emerge we will continue to update the Brexit post transition page. On 19th November ETOA will run a ‘Beyond Brexit’ webinar focusing on obstacles and opportunities for travel and tourism between the EU and UK. Experts on tax and immigration will be joined by DMOs and operators. For more information and to register, click here.

Tourism Tax and Destination Management

On 10th November, ETOA’s partner Group Nao, together with Global Destination Sustainability Movement (GDSM) released a white paper on the roles and impact of tourism taxation across Europe’s tourist destinations. This was carried out in partnership with ETOA: we provided data, insight and comment as the paper developed. Its goal was “to explore how tourism taxes can be designed to accelerate the recovery and long-term development of a more sustainable and regenerative tourism industry.” The sharp drop in indirect tax revenue during 2020 has added topicality to this debate, which also feeds into sustainability discussion, for example when tax revenues are used to support dual use projects that benefit communities and visitors. ETOA’s policy position and destination tax data are available here.

ETOA website and systems update

We are currently updating our systems. A new CRM will deliver a much more user-friendly environment for members and allow you to manage information we hold about you. It is also much more secure: we will no longer issue PDF invoices; all invoices will be user-generated. For a short period, access to the member-only part of the website will be disrupted as new user credentials are generated. You will receive these shortly. Meanwhile, please continue to send any comments you may have about website content, public and member-only, to:




Given renewed restrictions in Europe, we have not focused on operational updates in this edition. Behind the scenes, we are following various development including Paris’s proposed coach plan and Amsterdam’s proposed changes to canal-boat licensing. We will also monitor local tax changes which are typically announced towards the end or at the start of the year. A crisis can be a good time to ‘hide’ news so, if members have noticed any new regulatory initiatives, particularly at a local level, that will affect the operating environment other than those related to Coronavirus control, please contact us at


Following national government decree of 3rd November, all museums in Italy will be closed until end of December 3rd. Vatican Museums were quick to announce automatic refunds of prepayments for that period. Their previously issued guidelines for access until the end of the year are available here.




Recovery 21 is an event focussed on the opportunities for the tourism market into 2021. Taking place over an afternoon (12:30 – 16:30 GMT) the event will offer a discussion session led by ETOA’s Tom Jenkins with invited speakers (‘Get Back: the potential in the market’) followed by up to 21 B2B appointment slots with European tourism suppliers – assigned based on delegates’ preferences.

You are invited to attend Recovery 21 free of charge. Check out the suppliers and other operators already attending here. Content and meetings will be delivered online, see how it works here.

Register today – appointment selections open 18th November

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