A call for SME applications has been launched beginning of March 2022 to select a minimum of 175 tour operators and travel agents that will benefit from a comprehensive technical support programme to help them improve their sustainability performance. More than 730 applications have been received and after evaluation by an independent evaluation committee, 629 SMEs from 35 countries have been selected and signed up to the support programme.
Frank Oostdam, President of the Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (ANVR), has been elected today as President of the travel agents and tour operators of Europe.
During its semi-annual meeting held on 9 and 10 June in Nicosia, the representatives of the travel agents and tour operators of Europe elected Frank Oostdam, Netherlands, as President for a two-year term. Heli Mäki-Fränti, Finland, was elected Vice-President and Marios Kammenos, Greece, was re-elected Treasurer. The delegates also thanked Pawel Niewiadomski, the outgoing president, for his commitment and achievements during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Resilience of the EUDCC System is Critical for EU Tourism Crisis Preparedness
The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, the voice of the travel and tourism sector in Europe, welcomes the ongoing progress of the revision of the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) Regulation. While we strongly support countries in their efforts to progressively remove restrictions in the current phase, it is useful to keep the EUDCC at hand in case of a possible resurgence.
We also note that the EUDCC framework has become an international reference standard in which an increasing number of third countries participate.
Travel agents and tour operators interested in improving their sustainability performance can apply until 10 May to obtain access to free training and personal coaching provided in the frame of a one-year technical support programme funded by the EU COSME programme and co-financed and supported by numerous travel associations, including ECTAA.
02/05/2022 Webinars #all I want is Greece
ECTAA and the Greek National Tourist Organisation are jointly organising a series of four webinars dedicated to different s dedicated to different source markets. All four webinars will inform about the "sustainable tourism offer in Greece" as well as highlighting several aspects of "experiencing Greece differently". Speakers from the industry will present for a B2B audience how Greece is adapting to match new demands from the consumers.
08/04/2022 Greece: ECTAA’s Preferred Destination for 2022
While the political and economic context remains difficult for the whole tourism industry, 2022 will hopefully be synonym of recovery for travel and tourism in Europe. To turn hopes into reality, the Greek National Tourist Organisation and ECTAA signed an agreement to make Greece the Preferred Destination of the European umbrella association of travel agents and tour operators.
With the agreement, ECTAA pledges to promote Greece as its Preferred Destination among the 70.000 travel agents and tour operators across Europe, highlighting the loving and hospitable locals, the stunning coastlines, beautiful islands, delicious cuisine and high-quality tourism infrastructure that offer memorable holidaying throughout the year: #AllYouWantIsGreece will become familiar for many European travellers.
70 public and private travel and tourism organisations propose several amendments to the new EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation with the aim to secure the freedom of movement across the continent and guarantee harmonised rules when the Certificate is in use.
The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, the voice of the travel and tourism sector in Europe, welcomes the European Commission’s proposal that amends and extends the use of the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) to facilitate free movement during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ECTAA and a number of its member associations are participating in the EU-funded SUSTOUR project that fosters the uptake of sustainability tools and practices among travel agents and tour operators. A call for SME application has been launched today with the aim to select 175+ European small and medium sized enterprisesthat will obtain technical support for the implementation of sustainability practices.
02/03/2022 The European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association expresses its solidarity with the Ukrainian people and its travel trade partners
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has stunned the whole world. There is no justification for such an attack on a sovereign country, killing and displacing many innocent Europeans.
Travel and tourism stand for peace and cultural understanding. ECTAA deeply condemns Russia’s attack on Ukraine. We urge for a swift and peaceful end to the terrible conflict.
The Toulouse Declaration is the result of a collective and constructive work and was unanimously agreed and endorsed by the EU and all its Member States as well as a wide range of associations representing the broader aviation eco-system. Europe is the first region in the world to make such a commitment not only in terms of objectives, but also wider stakeholder engagement to which ECTAA has proudly contributed.
25/01/2022 Transport and tourism associations reiterate their call for EU Member States to align their travel rules to avoid patchwork
Passengers and business alike need a stable and coherent European framework to restart travelling and safely prepare for spring
In the last few weeks, Europe has seen a surge in COVID cases and the spread of the latest and highly transmittable variant, Omicron. Whilst the European Commission announced in December 2021 that the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) would be valid for nine months without a booster shot, several EU countries – including France, Italy, Denmark and Malta – decided to shorten the validity of vaccination passes for national use to seven or three months. A number of countries have also introduced additional testing requirements that apply to vaccinated/recovered EU travellers, going against the current Council Recommendations.
With almost 14 million tourists in 2021, Croatia experienced a successful year reaching 75% of figures of 2019, which was a record year for Croatian tourism. As ECTAA’s preferred destination for 2021, the travel agents and tour operators organisation is pleased to have contributed to this success.
European travel is on hold again due to the erratic and reckless decisions of governments to reintroduce travel restrictions on vaccinated travellers despite scientific evidence that they have no impact on the spread of the Omicron variant in Europe.
Travel and tourism stakeholders react to the reintroduction of travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers by several Member States in response to the new variant Omicron
When elected officials make public policy decisions in the interest of public health, those governments have an obligation to provide financial resources to those industries and individuals most affected by their decisions. Closing borders and implementing new restrictions affects untold millions of employees in the travel and tourism industry.
Ahead of the approaching festive season, a broad group of key travel and tourism stakeholders, including ECTAA, is urging again Member States to better coordinate and align their health and travel policy responses to avoid re-imposing restrictions to the freedom of movement across Europe.
ECTAA announced today that it has become a signatory of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism. The Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism unites travel and tourism behind a common set of pathways for climate action, aligning the sector with global commitments and catalysing collaborative solutions to the many challenges facing businesses and destinations globally. The Glasgow Declaration encourages the acceleration of climate action in tourism by securing commitments to reduce emissions in tourism by at least 50% over the next decade and achieve Net Zero as soon as possible before 2050. The Declaration was officially launched at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) last week.
The Covid 19 pandemic has been, by far, the worst crisis to date for the travel industry. It has also highlighted the shortcoming of the existing EU legislations governing the sale of travel and transport services. In 2021 the European Commission has announced that it will review the existing Package Travel Directive and consider a possible revision of the text. With this mind, ECTAA, the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association, publishes today its position on the upcoming review of the Package Travel Directive (PTD)
With the summer now behind us, Europe is entering a different stage in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. 74% of EU adults are now fully vaccinated and vaccination efforts are ongoing throughout Europe. Despite the continued spread of the virus at community level, the impact of the pandemic on public health has been brought under control within the EU
eu travel tech, the industry association for technology travel services and ECTAA, the European travel agents’ and tour operators’ association, welcome the announcement of the European Commission and the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network regarding commitments made by 16 major European airlines on their cancellation and reimbursement practices. This outcome is a result of a collective action launched by CPC authorities in February 2021
Greece welcomed more than two million visitors during the summer season marking real success in its vital tourism industry despite the pandemic still very present across Europe. The European travel agents and tour operators community is pleased to have contributed to this remarkable results.
ASTA, ABTA, ACTA, CHTA and ECTAA) collectively representing the hundreds of thousands of people who work at travel agencies and related businesses around the world, call on government leaders globally to align and make safely restarting international travel occur by opening borders an immediate priority.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), in 2019, travel and tourism was one of the world's largest sectors, accounting for 10.4% of global GDP (USD $9.2 trillion), 10.6% of all jobs (334 million), and was responsible for creating 1 of every 4 new jobs across the world.
Today, ECTAA and GNTO concluded a series of showcases on Greece as a safe and attractive destination for the summer 2021. Thanks to presentations and the open dialogue with Greek professionals and GNTO representatives, travel companies from Benelux, Scandinavia and United Kingdom/Ireland are now able to deliver the right information to their customers.
ECTAA is holding its semi-annual meeting on 1 and 2 July in Croatia, the Preferred Destination for 2020-2021
As the European Digital Covid-19 Certificate comes into effect today, the travel agents’ and tour operators’ community of Europe are gathering in Zagreb for two days to debate how a safe resumption of travel in the summer of 2021 can be the beginning of a long-term recovery for the travel and tourism sector.
eu travel tech, the industry association for technology travel services and ECTAA, the European travel agents’ and tour operators’ association, have raised numerous times the issue of European airlines’ continued failure to comply with their legal refund obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic - to the detriment of the entire travel ecosystem and customers alike.
23/06/2021 Greece again under the spotlights of the European travel agents and tour operators association
After a successful partnership in 2020 ECTAA is pleased to announce that a new cooperation agreement with the Greek National Tourism Organisation. Greece will become this year ECTAA’s Showcase Destination.
Ahead of the EU Ambassadors’ meeting on 11 June, the European travel and tourism industry associations call on Member States to approve the Commission’s proposal to start lifting travel restrictions in the EU in a coordinated way1. After months of lockdowns and a patchwork of measures across the continent, this proposal is very timely. In view of the rapidly advancing vaccination programs and improving epidemiological outlook in Europe, safe travel is possible this summer – fuelled by the strong desire of European citizens to travel again and secured by the readiness of our sector to provide safe and responsible travel.
Less than three months after the publication of the Commission’s proposal, the European Parliament’s LIBE committee and the Council have approved the Regulation on “EU Digital COVID Certificate”. The Alliance recognises this is both positive and necessary to restore freedom of movement: a fundamental principle and one of Europe’s greatest achievements. This tool will greatly facilitate cross-border travel, also allowing Europeans to reconnect with families and friends and do business in person after months of lockdowns and restrictions.
ECTAA and the Croatian National Tourist Board are jointly organising a webinar on 11th May 2021 @ 14h00, focusing on Croatia as a safe and attractive destination this summer in presence of Ms Nikolina Brnjac, Ph. D., Croatian Minister of Tourism and Sports.
The objective of the event is to showcase what Croatia and industry stakeholders have done to welcome travellers in a safe way, allowing them to spend a quality time on holiday and fully enjoy the experience, while respecting the necessary health and safety measures
Europe’s aviation, travel and tourism sectors fully welcome yesterday’s vote in the European Parliament on the EU’s proposed Digital Green Certificate Regulation, setting trilogue negotiations between the Parliament, the Council and the European Commission into motion. Swift action and alignment among the institutions is now critical in order to make the certificates operational by June and ensure reciprocity with non-EU systems. Common, interoperable, secure and GDPR-compliant health certificates represent an essential tool to facilitate the free movement of people within the EU and reopen travel in a safe and responsible way through the easing, and ultimately lifting of current travel restrictions.
The ticket vendors and distributors welcome the sector statement signed by all rail stakeholder organisations today to promote the development of international rail passenger services.
Yesterday marked the official start of the European Year of Rail, putting focus on rail as one of the most sustainable, innovative and safest transport modes. Member States presented the report of the Platform on International Rail Passenger Transport.
17/03/2021 ECTAA to mark 60th anniversary
Much has changed in 60 years, but travel agents and tour operators are still an essential part of the tourism value chain, now more than ever!
Six associations decided in 1961 to form an association to collectively represent the travel agents and tour operators in the newly formed European Economic Community. Today ECTAA counts 32 member associations going beyond Europe’s borders and representing more than 70.000 enterprises. Over the past 60 years its Members have built an industry that has facilitated travelling for millions of people
Over 60 travel and tourism organisations express their support for the European Commission’s initiative and call to ensure swift implementation in time for summer 2021.
The European Tourism Manifesto alliance strongly welcomes the European Commission’s proposal1 to introduce a common, interoperable and mutually-recognised Digital Green Certificate. This digital proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has recovered from the virus, or has a negative test result will greatly facilitate safe free movement of citizens and restart of travel and tourism in the EU.
09/03/2021 Safe travel is possible this summer
All the prerequisites are there to be able to travel safely this summer. Industry stands ready to set and implement a plan for return to travel this summer.
While the situation is not much different from a year ago, where nearly all travel and tourism has been suspended, today we hold the cards to turn the situation around. Vaccinations programmes are being rolled out, ensuring that the most vulnerable people are protected and alleviating the strain on our health systems. Tests are becoming increasingly performant and in sufficient capacity to be deployed in travel on a large scale.
eu travel tech and ECTAA, welcomed today the European Commission decision to launch an investigation, together with the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network, on airline cancellation practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As it is well noted by the Commission, travel restrictions applied by countries during the Coronavirus health crisis have led to mass cancellations of flights, which have disrupted the travel plans of millions of Europeans. In this context, a number of airlines have repeatedly failed to comply with their obligation to refund customers in a timely manner (7 days) or imposed vouchers in lieu of refunds, either directly or via their travel agents.
The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, which represents over 60 European travel & tourism stakeholders covering the whole value chain of travel operations across Europe, has called on European governments to include tourism as a strategic part of their national Recovery and Resilience plans. The ‘Call for Action: Accelerate Social and Economic Recovery by Investing in Sustainable Tourism Development’ paper recently published by the alliance emphasises that the new Recovery and Resilience Facility agreed by the EU institutions to help rebuild the bloc’s economy offers an unprecedented opportunity to reset travel in Europe and build a more sustainable, resilient and innovative tourism sector. Commission presents next steps for €672.5 billion Recovery and Resilience Facility in 2021 Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy, 17th September 2020
Over 60 travel and tourism organisations unveil concrete recommendations for re-opening travel & tourism in Europe, including creation of Commission-led Task Force to restore freedom of movement.
The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, a group of more than 60 public and private travel and tourism organisations and the voice of the sector in Europe, today unveiled a series of joint recommendations for EU Member States on how to relaunch travel and tourism in Europe in time for summer 2021.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, ECTAA and eu travel tech have repeatedly called on airlines to fulfil their refund obligations in order to allow travel companies to refund their customers. This must apply to both B2B and B2C products. Even one year since the start of this gigantic crisis, several airlines still do not refund tickets or massively delay refunds.
The Commission’s evaluation of the special VAT scheme for travel agents confirms that the VAT rules are not fit for the digital age. ECTAA calls on the Commission to speed up the process for the revision of the rules to safeguard the competitiveness of Europe’s enterprises.
NET welcomes the decision of EU heads of state or government to coordinate their response to the COVID-19 pandemic as regards travel restrictions, testing and vaccinations to stem the spread of the virus. Further coordination is needed to ensure we have a solid base from which travel and tourism can rebuild.
While 2020 shook the whole tourism industry, 2021 will hopefully see the start of recovery for travel and tourism in Europe. To turn hopes into reality, the Croatian National Tourist Board and ECTAA signed an agreement to make Croatia for the second time the Preferred Destination of the European umbrella association of travel agents and tour operators. With this agreement ECTAA and CNTB will commit to actively work together to bring back tourism to Croatia in 2021.
18/12/2020 2020, the year travel stopped
2020 has been catastrophic for the travel companies. Turnover has slumped to 20% compared to 2019. State aids and vouchers issued in the early months avoided the collapse of the sector. Cooperation with destinations has been key.
10/12/2020 Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy
ECTAA and eu travel tech strongly support the European Commission’s intentions to facilitate multimodal travel, to enhance consumer choice for all transport modes and to protect such consumers in case of transport operator bankruptcy.
They believe that their members can contribute actively to the goal set by the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy to promote multimodal transport and help the shift to more sustainable modes of transport.
In line with new guidelines published by EASA and ECDC on testing and quarantine measures, NET members urge European governments to immediately suspend blanket quarantine measures and travel restrictions. €80 billion of potential tourism spending is in jeopardy.
NET welcomes the announcement of the Commission of a European testing protocol for travellers and a common approach to quarantines. If correctly implemented, it will restore travel confidence and allow the travel and tourism industry to lift off again
If it is not in the plan, it is not in the budget: the European Tourism Manifesto alliance, the voice of the European travel and tourism sector, urges European Union Member States to make tourism a strategic element in their national recovery plans in order to harness the potential of the sector to generate jobs and growth, and to reap the benefits from green and digital transitions
NET welcomes the agreement reached by Member States to coordinate the restrictions of free movement within Europe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the measures are not nearly sufficient to restore travel confidence
Pawel Niewiadomski, President of the Polish Chamber of Tourism, has been re-elected as President of the travel agents and tour operators of Europe in Athens on 9th October 2020.
ECTAA held its semi-annual meeting in Athens on 8-9 October. This event, the first meeting in person of the organisation since the outbreak of COVID-19, was made possible thanks to the commitment of the Greek authorities and professionals of the tourism industry to offer safe travel.
ECTAA joins the calls from multiple stakeholders reaching out to European leaders and the Commission to agree on a common approach to travel restrictions and testing.
Every day we are subject to new travel restrictions which considerably affect the ability to travel cross-border. Such restrictions – and in particular quarantines – are in effect the same as border closures. It has a massive impact on people’s lives
A week after the successful webinar “Tourism of tomorrow: the case of Greece” to which 250 European travel agents registered, ECTAA are pleased to announce that it will organise its annual meeting in Athens on 8-9 October with the support of the Greek National Tourism Organisation and the City of Athens Development and Destination Management Agency.
Over 20 EU Travel and Tourism Associations issue open letter to President von der Leyen following further dramatic decreases in air passenger traffic
Over 20 travel and tourism bodies as well as unions across Europe united today in an unprecedented call for European Commission leadership to replace quarantine restrictions with an EU Testing Protocol for Travel in a bid to save the livelihoods of more than 27 million Europeans who work in the sector
The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, the voice of the European travel and tourism sector, calls on Member States to urgently agree on harmonised travel restrictions and ensure swift implementation to help the sector survive this unprecedented crisis.
The European Tourism Manifesto alliance applauds renewed efforts of the European Commission1 as well as the initiative from the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union from last week to improve coordination on cross-border travel and restore the integrity of the Schengen area.
26/08/2020 Greece becomes ECTAA's Preferred Destination
At a time of a crisis shaking down the whole tourism industry, the Greek National Tourist Organization and ECTAA signed an agreement to make Greece the Preferred Destination of the European umbrella association of travel agents and tour operators for the second semester 2020. With this agreement ECTAA and GNTO demonstrate their commitment to bringing back tourism to Greece and help travel businesses thrive again.
Despite two rounds of discussion and agreement on a list of countries for which the ban on non-essential travel into the EU can be lifted, ECTAA regrets that Member States are still allowed to pick and choose for which countries they will lift the travel ban. The result is a patchwork of different travel restrictions applied across Europe, confusing citizens and travel professionals alike.
While the Commission has started infringement proceedings against 10 Member States on the grounds that their national rules infringe EU law on consumers' and travellers' rights, ECTAA insists on the importance of vouchers for the industry and the benefit for consumers.
NET welcomes the proposal of the European Commission for a EU recovery plan, launched on 27 May 2020.
The package includes a revised EU budget 2021-2027 and a new recovery instrument, called Next Generation EU, with a total estimated financial envelope of €1.85 trillion.
We also welcome that, for the first time, tourism is recognised as an important economic activity and one that is being particularly hit by the COVID-19 crisis.
The former Hungarian flag carrier Malev went bankrupt in 2012 leaving many travel agencies and tour operators with unpaid refund requests. After lengthy and complex negotiations, travel agents obtain a pay-out of large parts of their refund requests.
Today marks an important day for Europe’s tourism: The majority of EU Member States have lifted travel and border restrictions with many European countries, allowing EU citizens to travel again and enjoy their holidays away from home.
The Network for the European Private Sector in Tourism (NET) calls on Member States to follow the coordinated approach proposed by the European Commission to restore freedom of movement. NET however believes that this renders quarantine measures at national level redundant. NET also calls on Member States to provide information to the Commission for a website ...
ECTAA welcomes the adoption of a comprehensive package on travel and tourism today. It recognises the ‘dramatic impact’ of covid-19 on the EU’s tourism ecosystem and proposes a coordinated approach at European level for the resumption of travel and tourism and a long-term strategy for a more resilient and competitive tourism industry
Recognising that tourism has been “badly hit” by the COVID-19 crisis, ECTAA is pleased to see that Tourism Ministers are eager to use the EU Recovery Fund for tourism. ECTAA also welcomes their support for a “harmonized solution” for refunding travel packages, including vouchers (link).
Ahead of the informal meeting of the Tourism Ministers next week, ECTAA calls on the European leaders to come up with a more substantial rescue package, a coordinated covid-19 exit strategy and ambitious recovery plan for travel and tourism
The stakeholder associations representing Europe’s aviation industry unite in calling on the EU institutions and Member States to provide quick and targeted support to an industry that has come to a complete halt and is struggling to survive the COVID-19 crisis.
The European social partners for the European travel agents and tour operators welcome the new instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE), designed to help protect jobs and workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but urgent measures to avoid adverse liquidity effects on European businesses
The European Commission has published this morning an information note on clarifying rights of package travel customers in the context of mass cancellation of travel. ECTAA welcomes this updated information note on the rights of package travel customers, but still hopes for more.
In an effort to contain the covid-19 spread, governments around the world have taken the decision to ban travel and close their borders. This leads to the mass cancellation of travel.
Covid-19 has brought travel and tourism to a standstill. Travel agents and tour operators call on the European Commission to allow a more flexible application of the European rules on package travel
The effects of the outbreak are already being felt throughout the global economy. Economic activity has dropped, and all evidence points towards a significant downturn in areas affected by the virus. The tourism and travel sector is particularly hit. Millions of jobs are currently at stake, while many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) risk closing their business
As the current spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, the tourism industry is monitoring the situation closely.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the outbreak of COVID-19 to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and issued a set of Temporary Recommendations. These do not yet include travel or trade restrictions
In the context of the rapid spread of the new COVID-19 and uncoordinated communication from different sources, travel agents and tour operators in the European Union call for introduction of proportionate and evidence-based measures to protect the health of travellers and tourism sector employees in order to control the spread of the virus.
The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, the voice of the European travel and tourism sector, has issued the following statement on the COVID-19 outbreak.
We offer our solidarity and support to China and the Chinese people during an exceptionally challenging time, and commit to work with our partners in Europe and Asia to that end. From higher education to retail, hospitality to transportation, the social and economic impact of COVID-19 crisis on travel and tourism illustrates the importance of Europe’s relationship with China.