EDITORIAL – by Richard Barnes – editor in chief – Cleverdis:
For many decades, tourists from all corners of the globe have seen Europe as the “ultimate” destination.
The fact of being able to see the many countries and cultures in what is the heart of the “Western” world, sometimes even several in a day, is a major draw card for Europe.
In the past, and to some extent still today, each European country does its own promotion on a global scale, and rightly so, as each has its own very solid identity and culture. But in the knowledge that foreign tourists see Europe as a “single destination”, the ETC has been working over the past years to underline – or highlight – the actions and efforts being made by various receptive organisations to amalgamate and confederate services and offerings across the union in order to make life easier for visitors and indeed for travel professionals planning their itineraries.
Surreptitiously, but surely, many factors have been changing in such a way as to facilitate travel for foreigners, none the least which was the Schengen accord, but also including deregulation of air and rail routes, modernisation of infrastructure, and initiatives to promote such topics as culture, events, gastronomy and nature.
It is thus becoming increasingly essential for the European tourism industry to be “up to speed” in terms of giving the world’s travel professionals the right tools to assist them in their planning tasks. This SMARTguide, compiled as an initiative of the ETC, is one of a number of steps being made with this very aim.
In this publication, we have attempted to bring together the key elements that may be used as planning support for you, the travel professional from anywhere around the globe. It aims to give you 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, or more “intelligent” future itineraries.