A big topic for the European tourism association this year and next year is the build-up to the 2018 EU-China tourism year. We asked Nick Greenfield, Head of Tour Operator Relations at ETOA to tell us more…

In conjunction with ETC, we won the tender to host some events this year and one of these is “World Bridge Tourism” – a project supported by the European Union aiming to increase the ow of visitors from China to the EU, to be held just before ITB China on the 9th-10th May 2017. The event is suited for European SMEs in particular, who deliver product such as accommodation, attractions, destinations and the like, who can go over there and be hosted – to meet directly with travel industry professionals in China.

Meanwhile, another concern at the moment in Europe is that there is a tendency to mix up issues about security and immigration with people being able to travel. There is an idea that only by putting up barriers and halting reforms that are being made to the visa process – such as the possible introduction of a long-haul visa waver project – we can have security. All the great reforms that are taking place are on ice at the moment for political reasons.

Our argument would be that rather than imposing barriers or freezing all the good work that’s already been done in the Schengen area, surely intelligence is where the money should be invested. We have thus written an open letter to the President of the European Parliament asking that delays to reforms be reconsidered, and that this work, which is essential to the healthy growth of tourism across the continent, continues.