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The European Travel Commission and the European Commission have established a long-term strategic partnership in promoting Europe as a tourism destination. In 2011, ETC and the European Commission agreed to work jointly to maintain Europe’s position as the world’s leading tourist destination and to support the sustainable competitive development of the sector by exchanging tourism knowledge and research and promoting socially and environmentally viable models for tourism activity both in Europe and globally. Since 2012, the European Commission has entrusted ETC with yearly ad-hoc grants for the implementation of a programme of promotional actions aimed at bringing new visitors from targeted third countries to Europe.

Additionally, ETC also collaborates with other EU institutions such as the European Parliament in its efforts to further advance and improve tourism policies at EU level.


The grant received during end 2021 – mid 2022, focused on monitoring and restoring consumer confidence as well as rebuilding the brand image of Europe as a distinctive, safe and secure travel destination. The scheme of the “Joint Promotion Platform” was adapted to support the recovery of the European tourism ecosystem from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The seventh stage of the cooperation between ETC and the European Commission focused on shifting from a traditional geographic consumer segmentation and generic marketing message to a niche thematic promotion around global passion communities of travellers, in line with EU tourism policy’s priorities. The design and objectives of the “Joint Promotion Platform” were amended to consider the lessons of the EU-China Tourism Year. The grant co-funded large marketing campaigns promoting trans-European tourism products, EU coastal & maritime tourism and EU cultural tourism.

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During this grant (sixth stage), the pilot phase of the ETC “Joint Promotion Platform” to promote Europe as a single tourism destination was implemented.

ETC was designated as the official strategic partner of the European Commission for the implementation of the promotional activities in the framework of the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year.

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The fifth stage of the cooperation between ETC and the European Commission was aimed at marketing and promotional activities of European and trans-European tourism products targeting Chinese travellers (‘Destination Europe’ pavilion at ITB China, use of digital technologies and audio-visual tools, preparing the EU-China Tourism Year (ECTY) logo and website and researching the behaviour of potential Chinese travellers to the EU & “opportunities to develop marketing strategies”. ETC also participated together with the European Commission in the New York Times Travel Show.

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In 2016, ETC was asked by the European Commission to work on designing a sustainable public private partnership (PPP) for the joint promotion of Destination Europe in overseas markets (through a specific pilot action in the United States). The scope of work included the consolidation of a common visual identity for Destination Europe that would add value to, but not compete with, the individual promotional efforts of the different European countries, as well as the definition.

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The third grant, covering the calendar year 2015, supported the long-term objective of bringing new visitors from targeted third countries to Europe. With this grant, ETC continued focusing its efforts on the consolidation of a distinctive image which differentiates destination Europe from other international regions through the promotion of inspirational pan-European experiences and the positioning and promotion of the renewed portal as primary source of information about destination Europe for potential travellers from long-haul markets. Additionally, ETC further developed ongoing digital marketing activities and social media promotion campaigns in order to increase the visibility of Europe as a tourist destination.

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Capitalising and following up on the results of the first grant, the European Commission signed a second grant covering the calendar year 2014. The second grant’s activities ensured the continuity and follow-up of the activities carried out during the first grant period and focused in particular on the development of high-quality pan-European content to be presented in an appealing and informative way to visitors from long-haul markets; the update of existing content in the form of inspirational pan-European experiences; technological renewal of the portal to enhance the user experience of online visitors and make it become an inspirational tool for potential travellers to Europe; marketing and promotion activities on the portal, through social media and via participation in travel and tourism fairs.

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2012 - 2013

In 2012, the European Commission materialised the cooperation with ETC through a first ad-hoc grant for the development of a long-term promotion strategy for “Destination Europe” in the horizon of 2020, based on research and consultations with the tourism industry. The grant covered a period of 18 months (October 2012 – March 2014) and the activities focused, in particular, on a series of start-up actions (i.e. pan-European content syndication to prepare the ETC’s core marketing platform for electronic distribution, online consumer campaign), industry consultation (i.e. organisation of several European seminars and overseas workshops to gather first-hand industry input for the consolidation of a comprehensive strategy for the promotion of Destination Europe), the production of a new inspirational video to promote Europe as a tourism destination via the  short film competition, as well as the development of an interactive VisitEurope application which aims to lead users through the overall experience of the trip planning, from the initial inspiration phase through the research stage and finally the booking.

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In 2011, the European Commission’s Vice-President Antonio Tajani made an important step towards strengthening the cooperation with the European Travel Commission by signing a Joint Declaration with the President of the organisation at that time, Mrs Petra Hedorfer.

© European Union , 2011 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Pawel Ulatowski