ETOA attends public meetings, speaks at conference and other events. It lobbies for a better business environment for tourism, and a progressive strategy for the industry at all levels of government.

Thanks to its direct membership model, individual member businesses, destinations and other organisations throughout Europe and origin markets worldwide contribute to ETOA’s day-to-day work programme and knowledge base. This keeps us close to tourism as it is delivered and experienced, and has led to the development of working groups that meet to discuss key topics and destinations: these member-only groups guide a large part of ETOA’s policy activity. For more information, please contact

For news on recent policy activity and external engagement on members’ behalf, see below.

25 October, Amsterdam

ETOA met with Gemeente (city hall) about transport policy, coach access consultation, and the medium to long-term outlook including the state of Amsterdam’s 850 bridges and kades (the roads running along canals), and potential implications of related work programme. Learn more about our activity in Amsterdam.

24 October, London

ETOA spoke at Tourism Alliance’s Tourism Tax seminar on the subject of Tourism Taxes in Europe and their effects on the industry and the destinations in which they have been implemented. Other speakers in included Marketing Manchester, Liverpool City Region, UK Hospitality, and others.

17 October, Brussels

ETOA was at the European Parliament to discuss the need for recognition of tourism’s strategic significance by new European Commission.

17 October, Amsterdam

ETOA made written submission to meeting of the Gemeente’s Finance and Economic Affairs Council Committee in relation to its proposed policy on tourism tax.

9-11 October, Lisbon

ETOA attended WYSTC 2019 in Lisbon and moderated a panel. The panel was entitled Safety: Who defines it and how do we measure it? Panelists were Joel Marier, VP of EBI Consulting; Andrew Procter, MD of African Impact; and Christina Thomas, Divisional VP Youth Exchange World Learning.

9 October, Copenhagen

ETOA attended Wonderful Copenhagen’s event Tomorrow’s Urban Travel, which focused on sustainability and the future of urban travel including its impact and possibilities.

7 October, Amsterdam

ETOA meet with metropool regio Amsterdam (Amsterdam Metropolitan Area) to discuss sustainable tourism strategy among the 32 municipalities and two provinces within the wider Amsterdam area. Learn more about our activity in Amsterdam.

1 October, Lucerne

Over a hundred delegates for ETOA’s annual policy summit ‘Tourism in Transition.’ Content highlights included keynote presentation ‘Transcending Tourism’ from Signe Jungersted of NAO; insights from the European Travel Commission (ETC), Dutch, Swiss and UK national tourism organisations, and the Canary Islands; academic and commercial insights into marketing and sustainability. New for this year was a workshop facilitated by CELTH, an academic research hub specialising in sustainable tourism. CELTH, together with ETC and NECSTouR, are part of ETOA’s partnership on sustainable tourism. Delegates developed actionable strategies for climate-friendly travel and tackling overtourism. Many thanks to our long-term partners Lucerne Tourism and Switzerland Tourism for the generous support.

25-26 September, Salzburg

ETOA attended a TopRail meeting. TopRail is a project run by UIC (the international association of railway companies) to develop leisure rail tourism. Those present include representatives of railways of Austria, Catalonia, Hungary, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, as well as European Federation of Museum and Tourist Railways. ETOA presentation included scope for better collaboration with industry including product development, promotion and booking process improvement, highlighting long-distance rail and customised leisure rail product as growth opportunities for sustainable tourism. ETOA and UIC have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding to be formalised in December 2019. 

25 September, London

ETOA appeared in the media discussing the collapse of Thomas Cook on BBC Radio 5 Live. 

19-20 September, Kent

ETOA attended Eurotunnel’s 25th anniversary celebrations. Their webpage on Brexit can be found here.

18-20 September, Hangzhou, China

ETOA spoke at the Xianghu Dialogue organised by the World Tourism Alliance. This year’s Dialogue focussed on today’s travel and tourism industry and how to respond and adapty to rapid growth and development. ETOA spoke on a panel alongside the Vice-Mayor of Carcassonne and the Consul General of India in Shangai on the topic of building a tourism public service system and destination marketing. 

19 September, Madrid

ETOA held its first Iberia Working Group meeting composed of members including DMOs and operators to discuss tourism policy objectives, business support requirements and commercial opportunities in Portugal and Spain. 

19 September, Madrid

ETOA held a 30th anniversary networking drinks for members, non-members and other local stakeholders. Learn more about our Destination engagement and activities in Madrid. 

16 September, Brussels

ETOA spoke at NECSTouR’s conference ‘Driving Sustainable Destinations Change Through Trans-Regional Cooperation’ organised together with the European Committee of Regions. ETOA’s presentation focused on sustainability and the public perception of tourism – visitors and local businesses; need for better data in relation to impact analysis; cross-border/regional collaboration, scope for capacity optimisation in destination; need for multi-stakeholder consultation; influence on consumer behaviour, including environmental concerns.

10 September, Dover

ETOA met with the Port of Dover in Kent to see the Port’s preparations for Brexit. This included contingency plans for congestion resulting from new border processes and the Port’s communications campaign such as their Brexit webpage.

5 September, London

ETOA held a 30th anniversary celebration at Banqueting House for member tour operators and guests. 

4 September, Breda

ETOA visited its sustainability partner CELTH in the Netherlands to discuss interactive workshop for private sector on ‘overtourism’ and the development of destination case-studies focusing on challenges of governance in relation to tourism.

3 September, Amsterdam

ETOA met with Amsterdam Cruise Port to discuss the potential relocation of the cruise port and the city’s future clean air strategy affecting vehicles accessing the city centre.

3 September, Amsterdam 

ETOA held an Amsterdam working group meeting with local members discussing local operational challenges and tendencies. Learn more about our Destination engagement and activities in Amsterdam. 

3 September, Amsterdam

ETOA held a 30th anniversary networking drinks for members, non-members and other local stakeholders.

24 July, Brussels

ETOA spoke at Round Table on Climate Friendly Travel at the European Parliament. Delegates included MEPs, academics and representatives from the travel and tourism industry, including aviation. Sunx network presented as a tool to promote climate resilience and sustainability.

24 July, Brussels

ETOA attended the first plenary sitting in the new European Parliament’s session of the EP TRAN Committee, at which representatives of the Finnish EU Presidency presented their priorities in relation to travel and tourism, with a strong emphasis on digital technology.

16-17 July, Athens

ETOA spoke at The Hazlitt Economist Annual Roundtable on ‘Europe: Leaving Indecisiveness Behind?’ which addressed the effect of political tension on tourism. Panelists included the new Greek Minister for Tourism and CEO of Celestyal Cruises. Learn more about our Destination engagement.

10 July, London

ETOA participated in Tourism Ireland’s Brexit Roundtable entitled Brexit-Outlook and Opportunities, alongside other high-level operators in the European tourism industry.

8-10 July, Cologne

ETOA attended the latest EACT (European Alliance for Coach Tourism) meeting at the RDA group travel expo discussing coach tourism issues in Europe.

2 July, Brussels

ETOA attended a meeting for the steering group of Tourism Manifesto. The focus of discussion was the final preparation of industry’s call for a co-ordinated approach to tourism funding and strategy ahead of the formation of a new European Commission.

2 July, Brussels

ETOA held a 30th anniversary networking drinks for members, non-members and other local stakeholders.

27 June, Brussels

ETOA spoke at a Tourism business breakfast arranged on the initiative of Malta. Topics included: EU policy on tourism; sustainability and strategies to achieve it; need for more collaboration and better consultation.

26 June, Brussels

ETOA attended a workshop on Future of Transportation for International Tourism in Europe focusing on rail organised by the European Travel Commission and Eurail.

24 June, Paris

ETOA attended the sustainability event: Are there too many tourists in Paris? This was a colloquium organised by the city of Paris on the subtext of ‘overtourism’. Speakers included transport and urbanism departments and other stakeholders including community groups and private sector actors trying to develop more neighbourhood tourism. ETOA learnt about what the Mayor’s advisers are thinking, and who is involved in the local discussion.

7 June, Barcelona 

ETOA held a Barcelona working group meeting with local members discussing local operational challenges and tendencies. Learn more about our Destination engagement.

6 June, Barclona

ETOA held a 30th anniversary networking drinks for members, non-members and other local stakeholders.

6 June, Barcelona

ETOA spoke at the thematic round table ‘The involvement of private sector in the tourism sustainability’, which was a part of the Mediterranean Sustainable Tourism Convention 2019, organised by the Diputació de Barcelona. This event aimed to promote the debate on sustainable tourism, as well as to present the solutions developed by the projects of the Sustainable Tourism Community of MED to the challenges facing the Mediterranean. It brought together 200 representatives of the tourism sector from private and public entities and institutions of higher education. Learn more about our activities in Barcelona.

5 – 7 June, Ljubljana

ETOA attended European Cities Marketing bi-annual conference on the topic of sustainable tourism.

4 June, Brussels

ETOA met with IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry.

3 June, Brussels

ETOA attended IRU’s Summer Reception for members and industry partners.

29 May – 2 June, Kathmandu

ETOA spoke at the Global Travel & Tourism Resilience Council’s Asian Resilience Summit 2019 on the panel entitled Maximizing Opportunities found Within Cultural Diversity. This panel explored the vibrant social patterns that present a myriad of opportunities and challenges to the tourism industry. Amongst other panelists were representatives from PATA, China Outbound Research Institute, Nomad Travels, Zicasso and World Nomads.

28 May, Istanbul

ETOA gave the keynote speech at HotelBed’s MarketHub Europe conference. The keynote was entitled Shifting Futures: Sustainable Patterns from the Past Shaping the Future and focused on sustainability in the industry, public perceptions, and how we should view the usage of cities. ETOA also spoke on a panel at the conference alongside PhocusWright, Seera Group, Kilit Group, and HotelBeds. The panel was entitled Strategies for Growth.

24 May, Debrecen

ETOA spoke on cultural tourism at an event for candidate cities for European City of Culture.

23 May, Oxford

ETOA spoke at Visit Oxford’s Insights from the Experts conference alongside Visit Britain, Tourism Alliance, UKInbound, TripAdvisor and ABTA. The topic of this panel was ‘Sustainability?’; it explored the different approaches to sustainability and whether currently accepted practices really are as sustainable as thought.

17 May, Naples

ETOA spoke at the 2nd TopRail Forum in Naples. Learn more about our Destination engagement and our activities in Italy.

16 May, London

ETOA’s CEO, Tom Jenkins, attended a meeting of the Executive of the Tourism Alliance in his role as Treasurer of the organisation.

3 May, London

ETOA contributed to a panel on sustainable tourism at an event arranged by the Balearics.

2 May, London

ETOA held a Group Tourism working group meeting discussing operational challenges and tendencies in European group tourism.

2 May, Blackpool

ETOA attended the 2019 UK Coach Awards.

2 May, London

ETOA gave a presentation on Brexit and the Tourism Industry to the staff of FoxPR in order to inform their decision-making on the topic.

24 April, Amsterdam

ETOA held an Amsterdam working group meeting with local members discussing local operational challenges and tendencies. Learn more about our Destination engagement and activities in Amsterdam.

16 April, London

ETOA attended the Visit Britain working group, a meeting of industry stakeholders and UK Government discussing operational issues affecting the UK inbound and outbound sectors. Learn more about our Destination engagement.

11 April, Brussels

ETOA attended a meeting with European Alliance for Coach Tourism (EACT), with industry stakeholders from across Europe discussing city access, driving regulations currently being debated in the European Parliament and Brexit.

9 April, Venice

ETOA hosted a seminar and panel discussion in Venice on sustainable tourism followed by networking drinks; speakers included academics, policy makers and the private sector. Learn more about our Destination engagement and work on sustainability.

8-9 April, Krakow

ETOA spoke at the 5th European Congress of Local Governments on the subject ‘How to Develop Tourism in Historic Cities’.

4 April, Paris

ETOA spoke at an event called ‘Congrès des décideurs du tourisme chinois’ focusing on Chinese incoming, organised by Paris city hall and Europass. Learn more about our Destination engagement and activities in Paris.

3 April, Bucharest

ETOA spoke at the conference ‘Sustainable Tourism – Common Policies of EU Member States arranged by Romania due to their Presidency of the Council of the EU on the subject ‘The role of the private sector of the tourist industry for the 2030 Agenda’.

1 April, London

ETOA joined a panel at the English Tourism Week Conference to discuss the UK’s tourism manifesto and opportunities and challenges for the sector post Brexit.

28 March, Paris

ETOA held a Paris working group meeting with local members discussing local operational challenges and tendencies. Learn more about our Destination engagement and activities in Paris.

27 March, Paris

ETOA held a 30th anniversary networking drinks for members, non-members and other local stakeholders.

8 March, Berlin

ETOA spoke at a panel discussion about Brexit and its potential impact on travel and tourism at the ITB conference.

7 March, London

ETOA met with the UK Department for Transport on preparations for Brexit concerning coach operations.

6 March, Brussels

ETOA acted as the industry representative speaking at the European Council, Working Group on Competitiveness and Growth – Tourism. Presentation focused on strategic challenges in the context of the EC’s current preparation of a Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF – the next EC budget).

6 March, Brussels

ETOA attended IRU’s EU Road Transport Conference discussing road user charging.

5 March, Berlin

ETOA spoke at a panel discussion entitled Sustainability that sells at the Arival conference. Learn more about our work on sustainability.

28 February, Amsterdam

ETOA attended CELTH’s ‘SCITHOS CHALLENGE’ Smart Tourism Solutions; a workshop dedicated to sustainable tourism in cities, including participants from local industry, city hall and residents. Learn more about our activities in Amsterdam.

25 February, United Kingdom

ETOA spoke to members of the UK Coach Tourism Association at their annual conference on Brexit and sustainability in cities.

15 February, Bergamo

ETOA participated in a panel discussion on sustainable tourism at the Bergamo Conference and Marketplace of Ideas “Sustainable Tourism for Rural Development“, also representing NET (Network for the European Private Sector in Tourism). Learn more about our activities in Italy.

13-15 February, Edinburgh

ETOA attended ECM’s Spring meeting entitled ‘Eventful cities.

6-8 February, Krakow

ETOA attended the ‘Conference on Managing Sustainable Tourism Growth in Europe’ hosted by ETC. This was followed by ETCs general meeting where ETOA spoke about its dialogue and engagement with destinations. Learn more about our work on sustainability.

30 January, Brussels

ETOA is part of the steering group of the Tourism Manifesto, which includes over 40 signatory organisations involved in the travel industry. ETOA attended a workshop focused on the scope for EU funding for the sector, especially sustainable tourism. The purpose was to develop possible joint actions in the context of the Commission’s budget preparation for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) in effect from 2020.

23 January, Brussels

ETOA attended ‘Forum for Mobility & Society’ at European Parliament. Topics included urban access policy, including possibility of further restrictions on diesel vehicles.

15 January, London

ETOA attended the first meeting in 2019 of the ‘Welcome to Britain’ working group with Visit Britain. Industry stakeholders and UK Government departments discussed operational issues affecting the UK inbound and outbound sectors. Particular focus was the potential impact at the border from Brexit, especially in the event of a ‘no deal’.

11 January, Aberdeen

The Scottish Government has concluded a national consultation about a tourism tax (‘transient visitor levy’). ETOA participated in one of the round table meetings chaired by the Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy. A range of views were expressed by representatives from public and private sectors. Issues explored included purpose of such a tax; notice period; the overall tax burden (the UK does not currently discount accommodation services for VAT); overall tax exposure for the distribution chain; merits of mandatory tax versus local discretion; use of revenue; visitor perceptions. Learn more about our policy on tourism tax.

7 January, Halle, Germany

ETOA spoke about international coach tourism challenges at the RDA Coach Tourism Day conference.

15 December, London

ETOA attended the Tourism Forum convened by UKVI and DCMS, two UK government departments involved with visas and tourism respectively. The UK intends to make progress towards an increasingly digital application process, with acceptance of digital documents. There was clear recognition that visa facilitation takes place within a competitive environment as other destinations grow in appeal.

11 December, Brussels

ETOA attended a meeting of ETC’s market intelligence committee. Matters discussed: renewed focus among NTOs of value of tourism as opposed to volume; research into special-interest tourism; preliminary discussion of metrics for sustainability which were continued at a Conference on Managing Sustainable Tourism Growth on 6th February 2019. Learn more about our work on sustainability.

6-7 December, Venice

ETOA attended an OECD event, which was a conference on culture and how it interacts with, for example, tourism. There was useful discussion about how themed tourism can drive product development away from over-crowded hot spots. Learn more about our work on sustainability.

26 November, Barcelona

ETOA, together with Barcelona City Council (Ajuntament de Barcelona), held a seminar discussing the future Tourism Strategy of Barcelona. More than 25 public and private organisations from the tourism industry in Barcelona got together to discuss how Barcelona can become a sustainable place to both live in and visit. ETOA also held its first Barcelona working group meeting with local members discussing local operational challenges and tendencies.

22 November, Antwerp

ETOA attended ETC conference celebrating their 70th birthday. Representatives of national tourism organisations met to discuss the industry’s future. ETC’s policy suggests a shift away from volume-based metrics for tourism’s success in Europe. This echoes a wider trend among some high-demand destinations prioritising value over growth.

14 November, London

ETOA held a Group Tourism working group meeting discussing operational challenges and tendencies in European group tourism.

14 November, Paris

ETOA attended an OECD workshop focusing on investment priorities within national tourism strategies. ETOA also held a Paris working group meeting with local members discussing local operational challenges and tendencies. Learn more about our Destination engagement and activities in Paris.

13 November, Amsterdam

ETOA held its first Amsterdam working group meeting with local members discussing local operational challenges and tendencies. Learn more about our Destination engagement and activities in Amsterdam.

8 November, London

ETOA attended the ‘International Travel Crisis Management Summit‘. Speakers from Governments, Tourist Boards and Industry Stakeholders discussed the tourism industry’s response to safety and security concerns throughout the world following major events.

7 November, Brussels

ETOA attended the European Tourism Day at the European Commission – this included the announcement of winners of European Capital of Smart Tourism. The 2019 winners were Helsinki and Lyon.

29 October, London

ETOA hosted an expert-led seminar on the political context, policy options and potential impacts of Brexit viewed from EU and UK perspectives. Topics discussed included VAT and the prospect of multiple registration for UK business and other ‘third countries’ should the UK leave EU customs arrangements; border management and associated logistics; access to EU gateways for UK-registered airlines; immigration status and schemes for young workers; package travel; Brexit-related contractual terms; continuity of rights and obligations through domestic incorporation of EU law; market access and status of non-EU tour guides and other on-tour professionals.

11 October, Brussels

ETOA moderated two roundtable sessions at a NECSTouR event in Brussels focused on cultural tourism product featuring representatives from ETOA members Toscana Promozione and Visit Scotland, as well as other specialists. Discussion included use of annual or bi-annual themes to drive product development and dispersal, with Scotland reporting strong growth in volume and community engagement as a result.

10 October, Rimini

ETOA moderated a panel discussion on ‘Product diversification and digital distribution; optimising destination capacity and unlocking market potential’ at TTG. Learn more about our Destination engagement and activities in Italy.

9 October, Lucerne

ETOA hosted the 8th edition of the ‘European Summit in the Alps’ in Lucerne. The discussion ranged from EU tourism and visa policy to technological disruption and in-destination innovation. Following research from ETC on travel patterns from long-haul markets to news of the latest market strategies from national tourism experts, delegates concluded the day with interactive workshops on industry/community relations, attraction distribution and capacity management.

3 October, Barcelona

ETOA moderated the event La digitalización del sector turístico with Musement where main digital trends in the tourist sector were analysed. Learn more about our activities in Barcelona.

1 and 2 October, Vienna

ETOA attended the European Tourism Forum. This event explored some destination management ideas and capacity management; ETOA pressed for specific examples in relation to group tourism management as well as individual visitors. Learn more about our Destination engagement and sustainability policy.

27 September, Seville

ETOA organised a ‘Cultural Tourism and Sustainability’ seminar to celebrate World Tourism Day, an event in which the City Council of Seville and Seville Tourism Consortium collaborated. 50 participants from public and private sector attended discussing product innovation and promoting awareness of lesser known attractions to help with the problem of capacity management. Learn more about our activities in Spain.

27 September, Lisbon

ETOA participated in a panel on the value of tourism chaired by Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar MEP as part of an event organised by the Portuguese confederation of tourism. Learn more about our Destination engagement.

24 September, Leeds

ETOA made a presentation on Brexit to CITO, a consortium of independent UK tour operators, at their autumn meeting in Leeds. ETOA outlined the current negotiation process from a European Perspective and possible implications in March / April 2019 such as the loss of UK-based businesses’ eligibility for TOMS (Tour Operators Margin Scheme), and cross border delays. The UK’s Package Travel Regulations 2018 were also discussed.