POSITIVE GROWTH FORECAST FOR EU TOURISM

Eduardo Santander, executive director – European Travel Commission – on current trends…

Europe is still one of the world’s most vibrant and appealing destinations for travellers around the world. 2016 marked a year of sustained growth for the European tourism sector with handsome growth posted by a vast majority of destinations amid a volatile economic and political environment and safety and security concerns. We asked Eduardo Santander how his organisation sees trends for the coming year…

ETC’s outlook for European tourism in the coming year remains positive with growth in arrivals forecasted to be 3% among ETC members. The key enablers to sustain Europe’s leading position as the #1 tourism destination worldwide lies in: strong cooperation between destinations and stakeholders, diversification of the region’s guest mix and an adequate targeting of potential travellers outside the dominant intra-European markets, considering both emerging and matured markets. Only through increased commitment and cooperation from the European authorities will Europe remain competitive and succeed in fostering travel to Europe.

ONLY THROUGH INCREASED COMMITMENT AND COOPERATION FROM THE EUROPEAN AUTHORITIES WILL EUROPE REMAIN COMPETITIVE AND SUCCEED IN FOSTERING TRAVEL TO EUROPE

You recently penned an agreement with the European Destinations of Excellence Network to boost promotion of Europe. Could you please tell us more about this? The EDEN Network represents some European destinations off the beaten track, real hidden gems which boost excellence in terms of authenticity and sustainability. ETC and EDEN have collaborated since the very beginning of the EDEN project, launched by the European Commission several years ago, and with this MoU we formalised our relationship. ETC supports the EDEN initiative within its membership network, and the EDEN destinations are featured on the ETC b2c promotional channels.

Last year, you launched an initiative to boost LGBT-welcoming tourism. How has this been performing and what are the goals of the exercise?
While we do not approve the clustering of the LGBT community into a separate segment, many European destinations are proudly showcasing themselves as inclusive and welcoming for all travellers. Europe has been at the forefront of the political battle to legalise same sex unions and child adoption, and all European countries protect the LGBT community through anti-discrimination laws. Europe is home to everything from pride parades to museums that celebrate the LGBT community. Many European capitals are revered as some of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the world, and the continent is a popular destination for same-sex weddings and honeymoons. We are proud of being a LGBT-friendly destination and the ETC partnership with IGLTA is another step in the right direction