LONDON – Following on the “Destination Europe 2020” joint initiative with the European Travel Commission (EC) announced at last year’s World Travel Market (WTM), Eduardo Santander, Executive Director of the European Travel Commission (ETC), presented at a press conference in London the first findings of the overseas consultation process led by ETC to gather first-hand industry input for the consolidation of a comprehensive strategy for the promotion of Europe as a tourist destination.
“We wanted to involve the entire tourism industry in formulating a common tourism strategy for Europe. The extensive market intelligence that we have gathered during the last year will allow us to determinate pathways to support tourism growth and sustain Europe’s competitive position as the number one world tourism destination” addressed Eduardo Santander. He pointed out the big opportunities coming up for European destination, especially in the emerging outbound travel markets of South America and Asia-Pacific. “By identifying and understanding the perceptions and expectation of these key markets we will be able to offer a better tourism experience to our visitors” said Mr Santander.
As a result, ETC’s long-term strategy will focus on the promotion of pan-European, transnational thematic tourism products and experiences that have high potential for overseas tourist, such as cultural routes, heritage, active and adventure tourism, education, health and wellbeing, sporting activities, religious tourism, shopping and gastronomy. The latter is to be the first pan-European theme of this programme to be developed. ETC with the financial support of EC have already commissioned the development of an European Portal on Gastronomic Events to present Europe as an appealing destination that offers a vast range of unique travel experiences related to European cuisine and gastronomic traditions. “The European gastronomy and its related traditions and products have high potential for the consolidation of the image and profile of Europe as a sustainable and high-quality tourist destination. It embodies all the traditional values such as respect for culture and tradition, a healthy lifestyle, authenticity, sustainability and experience. Likewise gastronomy represents an opportunity to revitalize and diversify tourism, promotes local economic development, and involves different professional sectors.” explained Mr Santander.
Furthermore, the European Travel Commission will also work on consolidating a common brand that differentiates Europe from other international regions. “The VisitEurope brand is meant to be the umbrella brand for all European National Tourism Organizations. This corporate identity can realize its full potential only if it projects a clear and instantly recognizable message to the travel industry and end consumers. This makes it all more remarkable that European countries work so well together” said Eduardo Santander.
One of the key instruments in building the awareness and effective promotion on the Visit Europe brand is the visitueurope.com consumer portal. However, in today’s world of interactive content and customer-responsive websites, expectations of the users of the portal are higher than it is currently possible for the website to fulfill. Therefore, the visiteurope.com portal will be completely renewed and updated in order to increase its inspirational value, focusing on visual content and social media in line with the “VisitEurope App” for tablets that ETC is currently developing.in the framework of the “Destination Europe 2020” initiative.
Finally, being one of the key target markets of the current “Destination Europe 2020” initiative, the press conference focused on the rapidly growing Brazilian outbound travel market. ETC signed an accord with the Brazilian Tour Operators Association, BRAZTOA in which they have agreed to the sharing of information, research and market intelligence and to the carrying out of joint promotion and marketing activities. Valeria Croce, ETC’s Head of Research and Development, said: “Brazil is the largest economy in Latin America by far and is set to become the fifth largest in the world. Thanks to increased social mobility, easier access to credit and attitudes that favour travel, the volume of outbound trips from Brazil grew by an average of 13% a year over the past decade and reached 8.7 million outbound trips in 2012. Brazilian tourist arrivals in Europe totalled 3.1 million; representing one third (36%) of total Brazilian outbound travel. “
The final conclusions of the “Destination Europe 2020” initiative bringing together all the knowledge and research gathered through the eighteen-month programme of activities and industry consultation process will be presented a major industry conference in Brussels on 12th February 2014.