Press releases

14/10/20 Tourism must be part of National recovery and resilience plans 

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






13/10/20 Coordination of travel restrictions is good but does not go far enough

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

09/10/2020 ECTAA announces Pawel Niewiadomski as President for a second term

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. 



02/10/2020 Europe needs urgently common approach to travel restrictions and testing  

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


30/09/2020 The European travel agents and tour operators to meet in Athens on 8 and 9 October 2020

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.


18/09/20 Unprecedented industry appeal to European Commission President to end quarantines and develop common EU Testing Protocol

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

08/09/20 European Travel and Tourism Sector Urges EU Governments to Agree on Harmonised Travel Restrictions as it Struggles to Survive the Current Crisis

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.


17/07/2020 Call on Member States to better manage travel restrictions and travel warnings to help restore tourism and travel confidence

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.



10/07/2020 Package travel vouchers still the best option for consumers

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.



June 2020 NET calls on the EU to match its recognition of tourism’s significance with proper funding: recovery and long-term

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.



29/06/2020 ECTAA welcomes pay-out of Malev refunds to travel agents and tour operators following an agreement with IATA 

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.

15/06/2020 Europe’s tourism is back in business! But there are still too many unfounded travel restrictions in place

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.



15/05/2020 NET calls on Member States to avoid quarantine measures at national level and make information on travel and tourism services available

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 ...


13/05/2020 ECTAA welcomes the Commission’s comprehensive package on travel and tourism but regrets its lack of ambition and leadership in taking concrete actions

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


27/04/2020 ECTAA welcomes Tourism Ministers’ strong support for a swift and effective recovery of tourism sector

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).

24/04/2020 Covid-19: Tourism Ministers and the Commission need to step up efforts for travel and tourism

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


03/04/2020 Europe’s aviation industry is facing an unprecedented liquidity crisis -- the European Union must act now!

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.  

03/04/2020 European Social Partners of travel agents’ and tour operators’ community call for emergency measures

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



19/03/2020 Cancelled travels: the European Commission invites customers to consider travel at a later date rather than getting a refund

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.


17/03/2020 The European travel agents and tour operators call for pragmatism and flexible application of the refund rules  

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

17/03/2020 European tourism sector demands urgent support measures to reduce devastating impact of COVID-19 

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


12/03/2020 An open letter to European policymakers from the Network for the European Private Sector in Tourism (NET)  

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




02/03/20 The travel industry calls for coordinated and proportionate measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak

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.


24/02/20 European Tourism Sector Calls For Solidarity And Support To China

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.



09/12/19 ECTAA is holding its semi-annual meeting in Ras Al Khaimah, the Preferred Destination for 2019-2020

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.

28/11/2019 The European travel agents and tour operators call upon the new Commission to work towards a competitive, transparent and sustainable travel market

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

21/11/2019 The tourism sector calls on MEPs to vote next week on the approval of the Sustainable Tourism Intergroup

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.

12/11/2019 Joint Business Statement on the Proposal on Representative Actions

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.

24/10/19 European Parliament’s call for protection against airline insolvency matches travel agents’ demands

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.

24/10/2019 Open Letter: Creation of European Commission portfolio on “Transport and Tourism”

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

01/10/19 A new Secretary General for the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association

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

10/10/19 36 Airline failures in 2 years – hundreds of thousands of passengers stranded

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.

22/07/2019 An easier consumer journey when buying online

Today the European business community is presenting its voluntary tool (link) to better inform consumers when they’re shopping online. The aim is to help companies find good ways to present their information to consumers including standard terms and conditions. The tool was developed in the spirit of the ‘New Deal for Consumers’ and agreed by the business organisations expert group

27/05/2019 ECTAA files antitrust complaint against IATA

On Friday 24 May 2019, the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association filed a complaint against the airline trade association IATA with the European competition authority for breach of articles 101 and 102 of the EU Treaty. This follows years of failed negotiations with IATA to modernize the distribution programme and make it more balanced

13/05/2019 Łódź is welcoming ECTAA in June 2019

Łódź City, the third largest city of Poland, is hosting the semi-annual meeting of the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association on 3-4 June 2019. The two-day meeting will take place in the Vienna House Andel's Łódź Hotel, which is housed in the cultural and commercial complex of Manufaktura

15/04/19 Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority partners with ECTAA

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA) to boost European outbound tourism to Ras Al Khaimah. The agreement was signed in Ras Al Khaimah on 11th April 2019 by Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and Michel de Blust, Secretary General ECTAA

11/01/2019 Hundreds of flights across Italy to be impacted by national Air Traffic Control (ATC) strike

2019 is already off to a bad start for travellers with the first national ATC strike taking place in Italy today in the afternoon. A4E airlines are being forced to cancel hundreds of flights in advance as controllers at Air Traffic Control centres in Rome, Milan, and Brindisi go on strike, affecting both domestic and intra-European flights to and from Italy

09/11/2018 IATA airlines unilaterally decide to dismantle local travel agents’ consultation process and undermine airline/agent mediation programme

IATA held its 41st Passenger Agency Conference in Geneva on 30/31 October 2018. The latter is the body of airlines deciding on the rules of the Passenger Agency Programme under which IATA accredited agents are allowed to sell air tickets and report and settle their sales to airlines. Despite strong opposition from the agent community, the Conference unilaterally adopted two major changes to the rules that significantly undermine (i) agents’ consultation process on accreditation criteria and (ii) agents’ ability to seek mediation from an independent mediator.

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