Support to the internationalisation of EU tourism operators

Service Contract for the support to the internationalisation of EU tourism operators for the promotion of trans-European tourist products and the organisation of B2B matchmaking during international fairs

ECTAA, as part of a consortium led by ETOA, has been awarded by the European Commission a service contract for the support to the internationalisation of EU tourism operators, for the promotion of trans-European tourist products and the organisation of B2B matchmaking during international fairs. 

The project has begun on the 12th of March and will last 24 months.

The general objective of the bid is to bring European operators from different MS together, facilitating partnerships, the development of transnational products and complementarities and improve the visibility of European trans-national touristic products in third countries markets. 

The assumption is that there is potential for European businesses to co-operate together in promoting their services to inbound operators, based on the idea that similarities between players will give them a marketing advantage. It is the purpose of this project to enhance existing networks and partnerships and create new ones. And thus, getting more business opportunities thanks to specific coaching for and participation to B2B matching events and international fairs. 

Half of the event actions included in this project will be delivered under the banner of the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year and attention will be paid in order to produce a seamless integration between the existing 2018 EU-China Tourism Year website and the portal created for this project. 

The objectives will be achieved by the delivery of the following actions by the ETOA-ETC-ECTAA consortium, which have been divided into 3 work packages: 

Work Package 1 - Preparation of EU operators to internationalisation and B2B matchmaking

The first work package includes compiling and sharing (through various communication channels, including webinars) market intelligence on the target third country markets, identifying most relevant fairs, advertising B2B events, etc. 

These actions will serve as a basis for the following work packages and include assignments that are highly integrated with the later stages of the project, such as the selection of the internationals fairs. This task is of the utmost importance as it forms the structure of the entire project. 

The consortium has carefully selected a shortlist of international fairs (still to be approved by the EC) based on the criteria listed in the tender specifications, the requirements of the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year, the existing calendar of travel trade events and the need for pace and balance throughout the 24-month project duration. Moreover, for each event a theme has been selected and has been framed in such a way as to provide a broad scope for participation by European Operators (Romatic tourism, Family travel, European Culture and Pan European itineraries, Gastronomy and Shopping, River Cruising, etc.) 

Work Package 2 – Organisation of promotion events and B2B matchmaking

The Consortium proposes the organisation of promotion events and B2B matchmaking on the day before each of the fairs shortlisted (list will be provided once approved). Holding the events in conjunction with an established fair helps achieve the desired level of attendance. There is an incentive for operators to attend because they will be able to benefit from both the B2B matchmaking and the wider commercial network offered by each fair. 

Every effort will be made to structure the promotion events and B2B matchmaking in close co-ordination with the suggested fairs. 

The purpose of these events is to maximise the outcomes of the business meetings. In fact they will introduce the B2B matchmaking, including advice on how to make the most of the networking opportunities. For the non-European operators specifically, this event will introduce the investment opportunities in Europe and the comparative advantages of the region. 

The topics covered at each of the promotion events include:
  • Overview of European facts and figures, including demographics, economic indicators, tourism numbers. Presentation of European tourism products; in particular, trans-national itineraries and latest innovations. 
  • Investment opportunities in Europe and the comparative advantages of the region (e.g. EU passenger rights, open and tolerant societies). 
  • Insights on how to do business with the European market and preparation for B2B meetings. A look at business practices such as timeframes, business culture, contracting practices. There will also be insights on how to make the most of B2B meetings and how to follow up on these.
The events will be followed by the B2B meetings. Both the European operators (suppliers) and the incoming product managers from third country markets (buyers) will be invited to register their business profile information on the portal. They will define what they do, and what they want to achieve.
In the immediate run-up to the B2B matchmaking events, both the suppliers and the buyers choose who they would like to see, building up a priority list of prospective meetings. 

Work Package 3 – Promotion at international fairs

Work Package 3 involves the delivery of promotions at selected international fairs. The stated purpose of this activity is to raise awareness about the most innovative products developed by the operators selected for the promotion events and B2B matchmaking. 

At the 7 selected fairs the Consortium will organise a stand that will display and distribute materials provided by the European commission on specific advantages provided by the EU and Europe as well as Pan European themes and trans-European touristic products (European cultural toutes, Eurovelo Routes, etc). 

Co-exhibiting options will be offered to NTOs on a cost-sharing basis based on proposals from the European Travel Commission. The cost for these options will be determined on a fair-by-fair basis, based on the charges incurred at the show.

In the coming weeks the Consortium will set up an online portal with detailed information on the project and the calendar of the events. For further information don’t hesitate to contact the project manager, Paolina Marone (

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