Policy Update, October 2021

Contents include:

  • Tourism Policy Development
  • Health Credentials and Borders
  • Climate Action
  • ETOA and partner events and activity

Tourism Policy Development

The industry’s capacity to withstand external shocks continues to attract high-level policy focus. Last week, ETOA participated in a workshop on Destination Governance as part of a European Commission programme to develop a pathway to more resilient tourism by 2030. Earlier this week, we provided private sector insight to the OECD committee session on: “supporting recovery from COVID-19 and building a more resilient tourism economy.” From supply-side strains such as staff and driver shortages to the expiry of travel vouchers and requirement for state guarantee mechanisms, much of the discussion focused on the framework for tourism rather than what clients experience.

One of the OECD’s preliminary findings was the need to take a multilateral approach to taxation. We took the opportunity to draw attention to widespread industry concern at Germany’s continued intention to change VAT treatment from 2022, as previously reported. In principle, non-EU buyers who source product in Germany and sell to consumers must soon register for VAT in order to reclaim input tax; they will then be exposed to a new sales tax on the final retail price, adding complexity and cost and causing competitive disadvantage to Germany. Pending coalition talks, clear policy guidance may not be forthcoming in the short-term and we will continue to urge that the proposed change should be suspended (again) pending an EU-wide solution. To stay informed on this topic, please email us here.

Health Credentials and Borders

The travel restrictions database on our COVID-19 resources page has been reviewed and the latest version published yesterday. The content covers border entry requirements travelling for tourism and in-destination certification requirements for each EU and EFTA member state and the United Kingdom.

Updates include more EU/EFTA states permitting fully vaccinated travellers from non-EU countries particularly from the UK, although in some countries there is a divergence between non-EU vaccine certification being at the border and vaccine certification required to enter certain facilities in destination.

ETOA is part of a stakeholder group in Brussels building consensus on industry and traveller needs: continued convergence and harmonisation of DCCs; a traveller focused approach (versus origin market): i.e. fully vaccinated and negative tested can enter, irrespective of origin country, and should have access to an accepted form of DCC even if that is not the standard model in their home country. It is also important to ensure that what permits border crossing will, where required, also permit admission to sites in destination.

There are encouraging signs: reportedly, 64 non-EU countries’ digital covid certificates have now passed technical tests for equivalence to the EU’s DCC and could be added to the portal in due course. Other positive news is the increased acceptance of lateral flow / antigen testing, and reduced dependence on mandatory post-arrival testing. As plans for 2022 take shape, the need for accurate user-friendly official information sources will only increase as volume picks up: we will continue to press for that to be a priority.

Climate Action

Ahead of COP26, ETOA is pleased to be a supporting signatory and launch partner of The Glasgow Declaration. For a recording of an information session, please click here. Given the need for strategic financial support to fund transition to net zero, the EU Taxonomy for sustainable activity is attracting increasing attention: will it deliver the funding that the visitor economy needs, from infrastructure to insulation, and transport to training? ETOA’s focus is to ensure that tourism is incorporated within wider planning, and not treated as a separate topic.

On 30th September we ran a climate action webinar. For a recording, please click here. For our most recent statement, click here. For more on ETOA and climate, click here.

Upcoming Events


ETOA Member Drop-In: 26th October 14:30 BST/15:30 CEST

Members are encouraged to share this opportunity with colleagues to help raise awareness of ETOA services,​​ meet some of the team and fellow members and discuss issues affecting your business. Register here.

For more information, the dates of other Member-Drop Ins and registration please follow this link.

ETOA’s Annual General Meetings: 28th October 

These take place on 28th October. For ETOA’s buyer members, who collectively own and control the association, this is a significant moment in our development as we will be inviting support for ETOA’s proposed transfer of legal control to our Belgian entity. While members will notice little difference day-to-day, this move would consolidate our European credibility and profile while retaining relevance in the UK, which will remain our operational hub. For more information and to register, please use one of the following links:

Buyer Member AGM (3pm BST 28th October)

Associate Member AGM (4.15 pm BST 28th October).


Only a few weeks are left to register for Relaunch’22, our round-the-world B2B workshop, online on 30th November. Relaunch’22 will provide unparalleled access to networking opportunities to travel suppliers and buyers of European tourism services. Qualified buyers are joining from global markets: ​​Europe, North America, Asia, South America, Australia, Africa. Over 300 companies already registered, check the live attendee lists here.


Partner events:


ETOA Webinar | The Airlines – ‘taking off’

The resumption of airline routes and capacity is the cornerstone to the successful recovery of our industry. Join us at 11:00 am CEST on Tuesday 26th of October for a very special webinar with our partners the NORDIC TOURISM COLLECTIVE as our guests Scandinavian Airlines, Finnair, Eurowings and digital marketing and data experts Sojern share their views and insights. Register here.

Focus on South Korea

On 16th September we ran a webinar exploring the potential of Korea as a growing origin market for Europe, with a strong interest in group travel. We were joined by speakers from partners ECCKETCNTC as well as Turismo de Portugal and private-sector players. For a recording, please click here.

Insight Hub

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

ALVA tracker wave 9
The 9th wave of sentiment tracker looking at the views of the attractions-going population in the UK.

Eurostat short stay accommodation bookings
Headline results from newly available data on bookings made in 2018 and 2019 across four major Collaborative Economy booking platforms within the EU, revealing that in 2019 the number of nights booked was 14% up on the year before at 554 million.  Spain, France and Italy are shown to be the countries within the EU27 seeing the largest volume of nights booked via these platforms.

ETC Sentiment Wave 7
The seventh 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 May, the study found sentiment to have improved markedly compared with the previous wave, continuing the trend from the most recent survey waves.

Tour Operator Support for ETOA during 2021

The last 18 months have tested the industry as never before. ETOA’s own team reduced in size and focused its efforts to support its members through action and information: we continue to handle a wide variety of queries, especially about travel restrictions. As well as our supplier members, we are very grateful to operators who have supported us financially during 2021. Voluntary contributions are still welcome. If you wish, please click here to log-on to your account and select the voluntary contribution link at top of the page. Thank you.

Member information with ETOA

If you have not done so already, please review your company information via this link. To see whom ETOA currently holds as the ‘main contact’ check your listing via this link (you will need to be logged in to see all the information).

Meanwhile, please continue to send any comments you may have about the website to: policy@etoa.org

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