foto

Message from ETC President and Executive Director

In 2023, European tourism drew close to full recovery. However, while arrivals to Europe are now within reach of pre-pandemic levels, this number doesn’t tell the complete story. We see a strong resurgence in some destinations while others continue a slower path to recovery.

Though tourism success has traditionally been measured in growth, arrivals and overnights, focusing only on footfall ignores pressing social and environmental realities. As we solidify our vision for the post-Covid era of tourism, it is crucial for tourism in Europe to develop new approaches. If we want to preserve the magic of European travel for future generations, we need to start measuring success in the benefits that tourism brings to Europe’s diverse environments, cultures and communities.

As a leader in the tourism industry, ETC has a responsibility to spearhead change. In 2023, we adopted two milestone projects – our Strategy 2030 and Climate Action Plan. We are dedicated to collaborating with all levels of the European tourism ecosystem to drive sustainable development and foster responsible habits. Through cooperation and trust, we can build a regenerative tourism industry that benefits all Europeans.

Eduardo Santander
Executive Director

Miguel Sanz
President

Eduardo Santander
Executive Director

foto

Miguel Sanz
President

foto
foto

ETC Board of Directors

President

Photograph

Miguel Sanz

Spain

Vice-Presidents

Photograph

Magda Antonioli

Italy

Photograph

Kristjan Staničić

Croatia

Photograph

Martin Nydegger

Switzerland

Board of Directors

Photograph

Astrid
Steharnig-Staudinger

Austria

Photograph

Peter De Wilde

Belgium

Photograph

Caroline Leboucher

France

Photograph

Petra Hedorfer

Germany

Photograph

Irena Georgieva

Bulgaria

Photograph

Rainer Aavik

Estonia

Photograph

Kristiina Hietasaari

Finland

Photograph

Alice Mansergh

Ireland

Photograph

Gavin Gulia

Malta

Photograph

Rafal Szmytke

Poland

Photograph

Annachiara Sica

San Marino

DRAG TO VIEW

ETC Strategic
Framework 2030

The approval of the Strategic Framework 2030 in May 2023 marked a pivotal moment for ETC. This visionary roadmap aims to position ETC as the foremost advocate for advancing Europe’s status as the world’s most competitive, sustainable and inclusive travel destination.

The Strategic Framework aims to guide ETC’s long-term mission to create a European tourism ecosystem that is more socially and environmentally conscious and leverages tourism as a force for good. It also calls to deepen Brand Europe by promoting the continent’s values of freedom, equality, and solidarity. The Framework identifies knowledge, promotion, and advocacy as the three core pillars through which ETC will achieve this vision.

This is ETC’s response to the challenges and opportunities driving change in the tourism ecosystem, namely the digital and green transitions, an increasingly competitive market, new development models, and the shifting role of destination marketing organisations.

Vision

To be acknowledged as the foremost advocate for advancing Europe’s status as the world’s most competitive, sustainable, and inclusive travel destination by 2030.

Mission

To empower its members, stakeholders and the industry to shape the future of tourism in Europe, for the benefit of all.

Values

  • Solidarity

  • Creativity

  • Diversity

  • Collaboration

  • Inclusiveness

Climate Action Plan

In May 2023, ETC launched its Climate Action Plan:

a comprehensive set of commitments to minimise ETC’s carbon footprint and catalyse change in the industry as a whole.

Discover More
world

ETC will measure, report and reduce its own environmental impact, with the goal of halving operational emissions by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

ETC will spark a ripple effect among its members by providing NTOs with the necessary tools, knowledge and opportunities for collaboration to propel their net-zero journeys.

As a leader in the tourism sector, ETC has a responsibility to set a positive example, share knowledge and best practices, and support stakeholders on their paths to sustainability.

Reduce

ETC will measure, report and reduce its own environmental impact, with the goal of halving operational emissions by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Empower

ETC will spark a ripple effect among its members by providing NTOs with the necessary tools, knowledge and opportunities for collaboration to propel their net-zero journeys.

Lead

As a leader in the tourism sector, ETC has a responsibility to set a positive example, share knowledge and best practices, and support stakeholders on their paths to sustainability.

world

Timeline

2023

Announce baseline year results and 7% reduction target

Climate Action
Working Group

2024

Handbook on measuring GHG emissions for destinations

Roadmap for destinations towards Net Zero

Collaboration agreements with international organisations

2025

Yearly report on emissions published

Online platform for climate action

Workshops on
climate action

2030

Emissions of ETC
operations
reduced by 50%

Plan to compensate residual emissions

Showcase members’ climate action plans

world

2050

ETC operations reach

CARBON NET ZERO

ETC Research empowers European destinations through monitoring trends and benchmarking studies. Through innovative research initiatives, ETC facilitates the exchange of knowledge and cultivates collaboration among various stakeholders in the tourism sector.

This is to further the mission of enhancing the resilience of Europe's tourism ecosystem and ensuring a brighter future for citizens and tourists alike.

Explore publications
ETC

The year
in numbers

17

Publications

11

Webinars,
869 attendees

6

Events,
236 attendees

Market
Intelligence Group

Chair

Tania Sultana

Malta

country
country

Vice-Chair

Ana Jemec Špik

Slovenia

country
country

Vice-Chair

Nessa Skehan

Ireland

country

European tourism draws close to pre-pandemic levels in 2023

Learn More

European tourism maintained its rebound trajectory in 2023, retaining its position as the most attractive global destination. Out of the 1.3 billion travellers recorded worldwide that year, 700 million (54%) chose Europe as their destination[1]. Travel demand was predominantly fuelled by intra-European markets and visits from the US. The latest available data for 2023 indicates that approximately two in three reporting countries recorded either a full recovery or were within 10% of pre-pandemic levels of foreign tourist arrivals and/or overnight stays.

Despite the notable resilience in 2023, tourism within Europe encountered uneven recovery due to inflation pressures on travel-related products, strikes, adverse weather conditions, and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Addressing these disruptions will be crucial for sustaining the stability of European tourism going forward.

[1] UN Tourism, World Tourism Barometer, Volume 22, Issue 1, January 2024

Foreign Visits to European
Destinations (2023 vs. 2019)

% change
compared to 2019

15,6

-6,85

-29,3

Destinations

* Based on reporting countries

International Tourist Arrival by
European Subregion in 2023

Region

International Tourism Arrivals
by Region (2023 vs 2019)

-3.6%

EU - 27

-5.7%

EUROPE

-12.1%

WORLD

Europeans demonstrated high adaptability and readiness to travel despite cost worries

Learn More

Throughout 2023, European travellers grappled with financial pressures and climate-related concerns. As a result, affordable destinations and off-season travel gradually became among the largest trends in travel behaviour. Despite the soaring prices, Europeans prioritised travel as an essential expense like food and fuel, signifying the increasing commodification of travel.

Their flexibility became evident through the various strategies used to enhance experience within the available budget. Among the most popular tactics were scaling back on shopping activities (17%) and opting for more budget-friendly accommodation and dining options, choices embraced by 15% of Europeans intending to travel between October 2023 and March 2024.

train
base-train

What do European travellers
worry about?

22.3%

Rise in the overall cost of
my trip due to inflation

15.8%

Economic situations and
personal finances

14.2%

Extreme weather events

11.0%

The ongoing conflict
between Russia and
Ukraine

8.7%

Too many visitors in
the destinations I want
to visit

6.5%

Booking and
cancellation polices
(refunds, etc.)

5.7%

Sudden quarantine measures or
changes to travel restrictions
during my trip

5.5%

The environmental
footprint of my travel

DRAG TO VIEW

Europeans adapt new behaviours
amidst rising travel prices

foto

17%

Less Shopping /
Purchasing

foto

15%

Less expensive
Accommodation

foto

15%

Less expensive
restaurants / self-catering

foto

12%

Use of public transport or
bike rentals

foto

11%

Affordable all-inclusive
packages

foto

11%

Fewer activities
with admission fees

foto

9%

Less bars &
nightclubs

DRAG TO VIEW

Overseas travel
intentions improved
throughout 2023

Learn More

According to ETC's Long-Haul Travel Barometers, 2023 witnessed a surge in desire to travel overseas across global markets like China, Brazil, and the US, with Europe emerging as the top destination. Particularly intriguing were the dynamics in China, where travel intentions spiked following the long-awaited removal of the Zero Covid-19 policy.

Europe's ability to cultivate a positive reputation and satisfy travellers was evident, with nearly half of the eager-to-travel respondents being repeat visitors. Though iconic landmarks stood out as the top criteria for a destination at the start of the year, this was matched by pleasant weather conditions as 2023 went on.

Despite the strong overall desire to travel, high prices were cited as the primary deterrent and a key consideration when selecting a holiday destination within Europe.

Barriers to travel to Europe

% of Respondents

icon

36%
High travel
costs

icon

13%
Wants to visit
another region

icon

10%
Limited vacation
time

icon

10%
Plans to travel
short-haul

Criteria for choosing a European holiday spot

% of Respondents

41%

The destination is
safe to visit

(e.g., no civil unrest, low
crime rates, etc.)

40%

High-quality tourism
infrastructure

34%

The destination
hosts must-see sites

(e.g., Eiffel Tower, etc.)

33%

Pleasant weather
conditions

32%

Affordable travel
experiences

23%

The destination preserves its natural and cultural heritage

foto

ETC works together with its members and partners to engage global niche travel communities through tailored cooperative promotional programmes.

These programmes are targeted towards consumers, trade and media in key long-haul markets, offering a wide range of opportunities to present Europe as a leading sustainable and inclusive destination.

Find out more
ETC

The year
in numbers

11

Familiarisation
trips in 15
countries

18

Micro-influencers
exploring 29
countries

12

Co-op
campaigns and
55 partnerships

Marketing
Group

Charel Van Dam

Chair

Charel Van Dam

Netherlands

country
Maria Elena Rossi

Vice-Chair

Maria Elena Rossi

Italy

country

ETC Co-op
Programme

logo

To promote Destination Europe globally, ETC organised twelve pan-European co-branding promotional campaigns in 2023, fostering 55 collaborations with members and public and private partners. The campaigns aimed to reinforce consumer confidence in European travel, increase awareness of unique experiences in lesser-known destinations, and build a distinctive image of Europe as a travel destination.

The platform included both bottom-up campaigns, conceived and implemented by partner consortia, and top-down campaigns, led by ETC. These campaigns targeted travel trade and consumers across five different long-haul markets, using a blend of digital, PR and sales strategies. Through this platform, ETC forged and expanded partnerships, pooling more than 1.5 million Euros for the joint promotion of Destination Europe. The platform was co-funded by the European Union.

These campaigns leveraged the collective expertise and resources of ETC members and partners to promote Europe in key long-haul markets, creating compelling narratives and experiences that resonate with travellers worldwide.

logo

ETC harnesses a myriad of digital marketing channels to showcase the beauty and diversity of European destinations and inspire a growing community of potential travellers. The VisitEurope.com digital portfolio includes the European Stories Network, Visit Europe Guides, a robust collection of social media platforms, and strategic partnerships with micro-influencers.

In 2023, ETC continued to propel its digital marketing initiatives, achieving significant milestones: producing 12 inspiring travel guides, orchestrating 18 influencers-led pan-European journeys spanning 29 European countries and generating over 105 million impressions across social media channels. The Stories Network maintained its growth to feature an impressive 451 published stories, collaboratively created with 26 ETC members and partners, all aimed at inspiring and captivating travellers.

A notable highlight of the year involved a purpose-driven influencer campaign designed to enhance the image of Eastern European destinations impacted by the conflict in Ukraine. Four influencers hailing from North America and the United Kingdom embarked on distinct thematic routes in Eastern Europe, offering authentic glimpses into daily life of these destinations.

European Stories Gallery

Influencers Stories Gallery

ETC advocates for the future prosperity of the tourism industry by promoting sustainability, accessibility, and competitiveness.

By opening communication channels between National Tourism Organisations and public institutions, ETC fosters collaboration to preserve and promote travel for future generations.

Find out more
ETC

The year
in numbers

40+

Speaking slots at
top industry and
policy events*

100+

Press requests

2500+

Media
mentions

Chapter
Earth

Katrin Erben

Chair

Katrin Erben

Austria

country
Alenka Malenšek Breznik

Vice-Chair

Alenka Malenšek
Breznik

Slovenia

country

*Including the European Tourism Day, ITB Berlin, Global Tourism Economy Forum, Working Party on Tourism of Council of the EU

A key aspect of ETC’s climate agenda in 2023 was the formation of Chapter Earth:

A working group and think tank to support ETC’s path to net-zero.

Comprised of 28 member NTOs, this ambitious group applies a climate lens to all ETC operations. Moreover, it aims to facilitate knowledge and best practice sharing and provide input on how ETC can support members’ decarbonisation efforts.

After electing Katrin Erben from Austria and Alenka Malenšek Breznik from Slovenia as chair and vice-chair of the group, the Chapter devised an inspiring programme to guide NTOs at all stages of their sustainability journeys.

Just one month after Chapter Earth’s formation, Katrin Erben virtually presented ETC’s Climate Action Plan at COP28 in Dubai, further securing ETC’s position as a leader in sustainable tourism.

Learn More
foto
foto

In June, ETC joined forces with Euronews to host the Destination Europe Summit. This flagship event brought together ETC members and key players in Brussels.

Among the speakers were Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, Chair of LIBE Committee at the European Parliament Juan Fernando López Aguilar, as well as tourism industry experts from organisations including Booking.com, Google, Global Blue and Rail Europe.

With discussions on the future of Schengen visas, AI in tourism, sustainable travel and more, the summit provided valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities for tourism today. The event was a key aspect of ETC’s agenda to create forums for collaboration between industry actors and forge close relationships with EU decision-makers.

Expanding its reach beyond Brussels, the summit was also live-streamed online and featured coverage on Euronews' TV and digital platforms.

Learn More

150

On-site participants

2.000

Views online

109.000

Views of Euronews highlights

For the third year running, ETC and Eurail organised the Rail Tourism Awards to celebrate campaigns championing rail as a sustainable tourism model in Europe.

With over 30 entries, four inspiring winners and an unmissable awards ceremony at the World Passenger Festival in Vienna, the 2023 edition broke the mould for showcasing the best in rail tourism marketing.

This year’s awards were organised with the support of the Austrian National Tourist Office (ANTO).

Learn More
foto
foto

The 2023 'Destination of Sustainable Cultural Tourism' Awards ceremony was held in Pafos, Cyprus, organised by ETC, ECTN, Europa Nostra, and NECSTouR.

The sixth edition attracted 60 applicants from 25 countries, focusing on smart tourism and sustainability across six categories.

Three of the winning projects were submitted by ETC members – Turismo de Portugal and Fáilte Ireland.

Learn More
foto

Winners from ETC members

Throughout 2023, ETC solidified its reputation as a trusted opinion leader in European tourism.

Learn More

This was a record year for media requests and coverage, with ETC mentioned in over 2500 articles and receiving over 100 media enquiries from a diverse array of publications.

This included leading global news outlets such as Reuters, Financial Times, Euronews, CGTN Europe, and large national publications from around Europe, including Italy’s La Repubblica, The Irish Times and Germany’s ARD.

ETC insights were of high interest to the media throughout the year, especially on topics pertaining to travel trends, extreme weather events and sustainability.

The most cited publication was Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-Europe Travel Wave 16, followed by Wave 15 of the same series, and ETC’s report on European Tourism: Trends & Prospects from Q2.

Number of ETC Media Mentions

0

2019

0

2020

0

2021

0

2022

2576

2023

In 2023, ETC brought together 35 European national tourism organisations from 34 countries.

ETC members collaborate to jointly promote Europe overseas, share best practices and drive the transition towards a more resilient and regenerative tourism ecosystem. Each year, the organisation hosts events for members to gather and define ETC’s work priorities and activities.

Find out more
ETC

The year
in pictures

ETC Board of Directors #107
1-3 February 2023, Malta
BoD #107 Malta 1
ETC Board of Directors #107
1-3 February 2023, Malta
BOD #109 Sofia 1
ETC Annual MIG and MKG Meeting #8
14-17 February 2023, Zagreb, Croatia
BOD #109 Sofia 2
ETC Annual MIG and MKG Meeting #8
14-17 February 2023, Zagreb, Croatia
ETC GM #106 Tenerife 1
ETC Board of Directors #108 and General Meeting #105
24-26 May 2023, Tallinn, Estonia
ETC GM #106 Tenerife 2
ETC Board of Directors #108 and General Meeting #105
24-26 May 2023, Tallinn, Estonia
ETC GM #106 Tenerife 3
ETC Board of Directors #108 and General Meeting #105
24-26 May 2023, Tallinn, Estonia
ETC GM #106 Tenerife 4
ETC Board of Directors #108 and General Meeting #105
24-26 May 2023, Tallinn, Estonia
ETC GM #106 Tenerife 5
ETC Board of Directors #108 and General Meeting #105
24-26 May 2023, Tallinn, Estonia
BOD #107 Malta 2
ETC Board of Directors #109
19-21 September 2023, Sofia, Bulgaria
Annual Meeting #08 Zagreb 1
ETC Board of Directors #109
19-21 September 2023, Sofia, Bulgaria
Annual Meeting #08 Zagreb 2
ETC Board of Directors #110 and General Meeting #106
22-24 November 2023, Tenerife, Spain
ETC GM #105 Tallinn 1
ETC Board of Directors #110 and General Meeting #106
22-24 November 2023, Tenerife, Spain
ETC GM #105 Tallin 2
ETC Board of Directors #110 and General Meeting #106
22-24 November 2023, Tenerife, Spain
ETC GM #105 Tallin 3
ETC Board of Directors #110 and General Meeting #106
22-24 November 2023, Tenerife, Spain
ETC GM #105 Tallin 4
ETC Board of Directors #110 and General Meeting #106
22-24 November 2023, Tenerife, Spain
ETC GM #105 Tallin 5

Election of
Miguel Sanz as
New ETC President

In May, Miguel Sanz from Turespaña was elected ETC’s President for a three-year term, succeeding Turismo de Portugal’s Luís Araújo. Mr Sanz brings with him 15 years of industry experience and a vision for a more sustainable and inclusive future for European tourism.

He is motivated to lead ETC’s efforts in implementing its new strategic framework and climate action plan, improving the resilience of the industry, and strengthening collaboration with the European Commission.

ETC would like to thank the outgoing President, Mr Araújo, for his excellent work during the Covid-19 crisis, and acknowledge his invaluable contributions in shaping Strategy 2030 and expanding ETC membership.

member

‘European tourism faces a great opportunity to emerge as a front-runner in sustainability and inclusivity. ETC has a central role in deepening the European brand by promoting the continents’ values of freedom and diversity, and shaping a more responsible future for the tourism industry,”

Miguel Sanz

Go Türkiye and Four New Associate Members Welcomed to ETC

In November 2023, ETC Members voted to welcome Go Türkiye as a full member from 2024. Türkiye has been pivotal in the recovery of European tourism, being one of the first destinations to reach pre-pandemic levels.

By rejoining ETC, Go Türkiye is entering into a knowledge and best-practice-sharing community of European NTOs, which will support the organisation’s objective to promote Türkiye as a global destination and develop the country’s natural and cultural heritage through tourism.

Additionally, ETC welcomed Hilton Group, Mastercard, Miles Partnership, and Queer Destinations as new associate members. These private-sector tourism entities will contribute expertise and resources through special collaborations with ETC and its members. In doing so, they will contribute to building a more sustainable, resilient and inclusive tourism ecosystem.

Funding
& Emissions

Expenses Overview

graphic

Income Overview

graphic

Average footprint per Euro of funding

graphic

Baseline Year

2018

Met & Exceeded

7%

Yearly reduction
target

ETC
Executive Unit

* As of December 2023

Eduardo Santander

Eduardo Santander

Executive Director

symbol

Advocacy

Teodora Marinska

Teodora Marinska

COO/Head of Public Affairs

Tatiana Veselova

Tatiana Veselova

Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager

Abigail Osbourne

Abigail Osbourne

Public Affairs Trainee

Administration

Iulia Niculică

Iulia Niculică

Head of Administration

Sophia Westerlund

Sophia Westerlund

Administration Manager

Roberta Magro Malosso

Roberta Magro Malosso

Procurement Manager

Elena Santos

Elena Santos

Administration Trainee

Research

Jennifer Iduh

Jennifer Iduh

Head of Research and Insights

Lyublena Dimova

Lyublena Dimova

Senior Research Manager

Menno van IJssel

Menno van IJssel

Research Project Manager

Rocio Lopez

Rocio Lopez

Research Trainee

Marketing

Miguel Gallego

Miguel Gallego

Head of Marketing and Communication

Ludivine Destrée

Ludivine Destrée

Marketing Project Manager

Matteo Nardin

Matteo Nardin

Marketing Project Manager

Diogo Paciência

Diogo Paciência

Digital Marketing Manager

Wiktoria Czarnecka

Wiktoria Czarnecka

Digital Marketing Trainee

Many thanks to our former colleagues
who were part of the team in 2023

Anna Bellmàs

Anna Bellmàs

Marketing Project Manager

Silvia Battiato

Silvia Battiato

Administration Trainee

Sabine Elleswijk

Sabine Elleswijk

Public Affairs Trainee

Julie Madsen

Julie Madsen

Research Trainee