City tourism: Operators Update

February 2018

As reported previously, this update illustrates again how the impact of tourism and capacity management are becoming central preoccupations of cities fortunate enough to enjoy strong demand. ETOA is in close dialogue with destinations as their strategies develop, ensuring that industry’s voice is heard and that authorities are aware of the impact of proposals. Operators are assisting by providing up-to-date reports of business impact. Policy does drive change: the coach fleet’s widespread adoption of Euro 6 vehicles is in part a direct response to the decision to charge less for their access, as well as to low emission requirements. Such developments will be overshadowed by disruption and associated economic loss if new access regimes are evolved and introduced with insufficient consultation and notice.


Capacity management We are involved with a working group focused on managing relations between residents and visitors. Its work addresses turismofobia in part through better consultation and the development of mitigating measures in response to practical concerns. Please continue to send reports of your experience of booking Sagrada Familia as its capacity management medium-long term is in question. In mid-April, we will participate in an event in Barcelona addressing these issues, whose outputs will include a declaration of principles related to sustainable tourism. We participated in preparatory discussions at FITUR.


Alhambra As previously reported, there is continued controversy over the system of ticket requests, allocation, reservation and purchase. Our latest understanding from the Patronato is that they plan to hold a meeting in February at which the first report about how the new system works will be presented; ETOA will be invited to participate.


Coach access Operators report that they are reviewing itineraries with their transport departments and partners to ensure they are manageable within the new constraints, including the maximum period of 6 hours during which a specified vehicle may set down and pick up passengers within Zone 1. Given the unpredictability of traffic and visit duration in attractions there is widespread concern that accidental overrun is inevitable, leading to fines being imposed. ETOA is in contact with the city transport department to address some of the logistic concerns arising. It is likely that businesses located within Zone 1 may be affected if nearby drop-offs, typically in the afternoon, become problematic if they require a separate permit from that which covers the morning’s Zone 1 activities. If operators are reconsidering use of suppliers or visiting partners within Zone 1 for this reason, please get in touch with ETOA. Further information on the new regime is available via the following links:




Montparnasse Tower In the notes on ETOA’s most recent Working Group meeting held on the 29th November 2017 we stated the following: ‘The Montparnasse Tower has been offered as an alternative to the Eiffel Tower by several companies but unfortunately it will be closed for renovation in 2018.’

This statement has been found to be incorrect and the Montparnasse Tower have given us the latest information as follows:

‘The Montparnasse Tower will be closing in 2020 for renovation. As yet neither the start date in 2020 nor the probable duration of the work has been confirmed.’

We apologise for any confusion that may have been caused.

Eiffel Tower There will be a meeting of experts in the tourist economy run by the Ville de Paris in February to discuss possible improvements to the park and other amenities adjacent to the Eiffel Tower. This exercise is in part intended to address Eiffel Tower visitor management and welcome. Industry input is vital; ETOA will participate.


Coach access Following recent reports, it now appears that the introduction of a new regime previously expected to be in force from 30 June 2018 will be postponed to January 2019. Meanwhile, the potential disruption of the measures proposed is clear, and local sentiment continues to drive continued debate: some residents of Rome’s historic centre (Municipio 1) are reported to want more restriction than is currently proposed. We are preparing our survey results and an associated press release. Recent reporting available here.

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