ETC NAMES UNITED STATES AS KEY TO GROWTH

European Travel Commission Executive Director says more should be done to win over American travellers

Europe has now experienced growth in visitor numbers for the sixth consecutive year. International Tourist arrivals to Europe were up 5% in 2015. We asked ETC Eduardo Santander what he sees as being the most important trends in the European tourism market at the moment.

International tourists continue to travel, and tourist flows to and within the region are expected to surge 3.8% – 4.4% in 2016. In the US, the upswing of the economy, a strong US dollar, stable airfares, and an ever-increasing consumer confidence are boosting travel to Europe. Although US travellers are concerned about terrorism they still want to discover Europe. The US accounted for 5% of total arrivals (25.7million) to Europe in 2015 and is expected to grow on average at +6% towards 2020.

Please tell us more about the main promotional activities of the ETC at the moment.

This year, we are placing particular emphasis on the US market. The US is our most important overseas source market and the strong US Dollar and the ever-growing consumer confidence all contribute to the appeal of Europe as a holiday destination. In other important source markets such as China, Canada and Brazil we are continuing building strategic partnerships with trade and media aiming at increasing awareness of lesser known European destinations.

TOURIST FLOWS TO AND WITHIN THE REGION ARE EXPECTED TO SURGE 3.8% – 4.4% IN 2016.

Last year, Cleverdis completed the SMARTguide to Travel in Europe. How has this performed as an information tool for travel professionals?

The Travelling in Europe Smartguide was very well received by the industry in Europe as well as in overseas markets.

ETC has a long tradition in producing very valuable market intelligence, but this was the first time that we issued a publication targeted directly towards travel professionals. The guide gives a firm overview of the ongoing evolution of Europe’s transport infrastructure, as well as a number of new ideas and initiatives, which we believe will result in improved planning for better-targeted itineraries. We presented and distributed the publication at all our trade events and seminars in Europe, Canada, USA and Brazil last year.