The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA), Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations (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.
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.
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.
ECTAA is delighted to hold its semi-annual meeting in Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), from 8-10 December 2019. Ras Al Khaimah has a rich heritage, which dates back over 7,000 and has a lot to offer to guests: from the highest mountain peak, to sweeping white sandy beaches, a relaxed and very safe infrastructure, world-class hotels, a rich local cuisine and lots of fun attractions, among which the world’s longest zipline, the Jebel Jais Flight.
The European Parliament approved yesterday the new von der Leyen Commission that will lead the European Commission until 2024. All the Commissioners are now ready to take office. ECTAA, the European organisation representing the travel agents and tour operators, is committed to help them make the travel market more competitive, more transparent and more sustainable
The tourism sector calls on the Members of the European Parliament to vote within their political groups in support of the re-establishment of the Sustainable Tourism Intergroup. Due to its horizontal nature, its positive impact in the EU economy, and its many challenges, tourism deserves to be heard through a dedicated intergroup. In economic terms, tourism is the 3rd largest socio-economic activity in Europe and the backbone of the EU economy.
The European business community is following with interest and concern the progress of the Proposal for a Directive on Representative Actions before the Council. The members of our organisations support simple, balanced and efficient civil justice systems.
On Thursday, 24 October 2019, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on the negative effects of Thomas Cook bankruptcy in European tourism. ECTAA supports the Resolution and particularly welcomes the Parliament’s urgent call for protection against airline insolvency.
Fifty European tourism stakeholders, representing all aspects of the EU tourism sector, appeal for greater recognition of tourism in the new European Commission and the creation of a Commission portfolio on “Transport and Tourism
ECTAA is pleased to announce the new Secretary General, Eric Drésin. In this role, Drésin will lead a well-established organisation representing the distribution part of the European travel industry. “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Eric Drésin to ECTAA. His longstanding experience in European affairs and as association manager will be a crucial asset for our organisation” said Pawel Niewiadomski, ECTAA President.
30/09/2019 Improving knowledge of holidaymakers’ rights
The failure of the Thomas Cook Group last week was of unheard magnitude in the industry over the last 30 years. All the attention is still currently directed towards bringing back holidaymakers stranded abroad. Despite the very large number of travellers concerned, the guarantee system established in accordance with the Package Travel Directive is proving to be efficient
The French airline Aigle Azur is the latest in the list of airlines that have ceased operations, leaving more than 13.000 passengers stranded and thousands of passengers who bought tickets that are now valueless. This highlights once again the lack of adequate consumer protection against airline failures.