More than 30 European tourism organizations meet in Prague to discuss the challenges of the coming winter – ETC Corporate
- Global economic uncertainty and cost of living crisis top of mind for tourism officials in Europe this winter
- Leaders reflect on impact of war in Ukraine on Europe’s uneven tourism recovery
Today, the presidents of Europe’s national tourist offices gathered in Prague for the General Assembly of the European Tourism Commission (ETC). This meeting, organized by CzechTourism, brought together more than 30 CEOs of National Tourism Authorities (NTOs) from across Europe and ETC Associate Members from the private sector to discuss the state of play of the tourism sector. tourism in Europe. The meeting took place alongside the European Tourism Forum organized by the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU. ‘
ETC’s newest member, the State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine (STD), was present for the first time. This gave the opportunity for the NTOs present to hear first hand how the Ukrainian tourism sector is coping with the war.
The gathering followed a successful summer for tourism in Europe. The most recent edition of ETC’s quarterly ‘European Tourism Trends and Outlook’ report indicated that enthusiasm for travel has persisted this summer, with more than half of reporting destinations recovering to at least 77% of travel levels. foreign arrivals of 2019. However, a tough economic backdrop will lead to a tough winter for the tourism sector, with data for much of the region already pointing to the onset of a mild recession in the third quarter.
ETC continues to shine the spotlight on the impact of global uncertainty on travel to Europe
ETC predicts that high inflation, a key factor behind the gloomy winter outlook, will impact the travel recovery on several fronts. NTOs discussed that consumers in key markets would face higher levels of inflation for longer and rising interest rates. As a result, it will erode disposable income and reduce opportunities for discretionary spending, delaying the resumption of travel. At the same time, airlines and hospitality will face continued pricing pressures from rising energy prices and rising labor costs, which will affect consumers through higher prices.
The NTOs present agreed that it is now vital that ETC research reports closely monitor consumer confidence and traveler sentiment in Europe and key markets to tailor tourism supply and promotional activities to meet main concerns of travelers.
Commenting on the discussions, ETC President Luis Araujo said: “It was an honor to be joined in Prague by the best and brightest minds in the European travel industry. Thanks to CzechTourism for being such gracious hosts. It has been humbling to hear the impact of rising inflation on our members at all levels. At ETC, we are committed to ensuring that the European travel industry successfully weathers the global impacts looming on the horizon this coming year. During the pandemic, the travel industry has proven to be resilient and highly adaptable. As it faces new challenges, I am confident that European tourism will continue to evolve, embracing new sustainable and digital travel solutions.”
The NTOs present also took the opportunity to discuss how the conflict in Ukraine has caused an uneven recovery in tourism across Europe. The largest declines in tourist arrivals were recorded in the Baltic States and Eastern European countries bordering Russia or Ukraine, still registering on average drops of around 40% compared to arrivals of 2019. ETC members stressed that joint marketing activities planned and co-funded by the EU, showcasing European destinations and tapping into new markets to replace Russian tourists, will be the key priority to address this issue. .
Commenting on this, Jan Herget, Managing Director of CzechTourism said: “It is crucial to tackle together all the difficulties we are facing at the moment. But it is also important to mention that Europe is by no means a dangerous place for tourists. For example, the Czech Republic has been awarded the title of one of the 10 safest countries in the world for the past 5 consecutive years. And the joint ETC campaign that we hope to run next year with our CEE partners from Poland, Slovakia and Hungary is a great opportunity to promote Eastern Europe in the US market and show it as the safe and attractive destination that she definitely is.
While immediate economic and geopolitical risks were rightly on the mind, ETC ensured that those in attendance were also informed of the latest tourism trends by ETC associate members including Airbnb, Google, Crowdriff, Sojern and Expedia.