ETOA and Sustainability

For tourism to remain a valued part of the European economy and generate useful employment it must be sustainable: economically, socially, and environmentally. Related considerations drive consumer choice, investment criteria and political calculation, influencing all aspects of travel and tourism. ETOA’s current priorities in support of sustainable practice are climate action and product diversification.

For more information about ETOA and Climate Action, please click here.


The European Commission identified tourism as the sector most adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, launching the Tourism Transition Pathway in February 2022. Building sectoral resilience requires strategic investment and support for sustainable practice.

Europe remains a popular destination among a growing worldwide population who can afford to travel. The pent-up demand from long-haul markets is driving aviation-dependent visitor flows. The ‘build back better’ rhetoric has met the reality of tough business conditions for both buyers and the supply chain. For many, strategic planning for climate action is less urgent than finding solutions to immediate problems.

Sharing places with others who find them appealing is our common experience: how tourism can help to do it better will require creativity and determination. Above all, it will require smart public-private collaboration. Including over 120 national, regional and local destination management organisations, ETOA is well placed to be an effective partner in driving product diversification and supporting strategic change.

What you need to know

  • Tourism’s importance has been recognised post-pandemic
  • The perceived threat of its adverse impact is highly influential
  • The industry is still not well understood by many policy makers

ETOA’s policy objectives

  • Better understanding and improved perception of tourism in Europe
  • Better destination management and product development
  • Support the development of a wide consensus in support of good practice

What we are doing

  • Working with destinations, industry partners and academic experts
  • Supporting market development of destination and product
  • Running events, contributing to debate, publishing materials

In December 2020, ETOA formally declared a climate emergency and subsequently published a climate action plan. We are members of working group on capacity building to support implementation of the Glasgow Declaration in collaboration with UNWTO One Planet initiative.

Product diversification is driven by our events attracting buyers, suppliers and destinations interested in long-haul and intra-European markets. Topical insight to support the business case and practical implementation of transition is offered at conferences, in webinars and online.

We contribute to a range of panels and other third party events. Our sustainability partners include European Travel Commission (ETC), NECSTouR and CELTH. We also participate in the UNWTO working group of experts on measuring the sustainability of tourism.

Destinations and sustainability: addressing anti-tourism sentiment in cities. February 2019

How do destinations remain viable and desirable places to live, work and visit as visitor flows increase? This challenge faces us all, not just the tourism industry.

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