Earlier this month, the European Travel Commission (ETC) launched its Horizon 2022 Strategy to an audience of over 140 delegates in Toronto and New York. ETC’s Horizon 2022 Strategy aims to make Europe more about the experiences that today’s travellers are seeking, thus creating sustainable growth for all sectors in Europe, not just tourism. By switching the focus to the visitor’s perspective, rather than the destination, ETC foresees that ‘Destination Europe’ will be in a position to promote itself first and foremost as a collection of meaningful experiences that connect with people’s passions.
Attending the two ETC events in North America were 70 top executive delegates from airlines, tour operators and media and 75 travel agents who gathered to hear ETC’s Head of Marketing, Miguel Gallego explain the strategy in more detail. Miguel emphasised how crucially important North America is as a long-haul market for European tourism. Interestingly, he explained that both Canadian and US travellers are very similar to Europeans in terms of their mindset, history and traditions.
By looking at specific psychographics based on identified ‘Passion Communities’, ETC has been able to select three global niche communities of travellers who are interested in experiences that they can fulfil in Europe. These three niches are:
Addressing delegates in Toronto alongside Miguel was Dana Welch, Chair of ETC Canada Chapter, who stressed the increased importance of travel advisors to Canadians as a result of this strategy. Given the more narrowed approach to marketing that will specifically highlight hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path destinations, more complex planning will be required.
In New York, the Chair of ETC US Chapter Alison Metcalfe also highlighted that the U.S. remains the largest inbound market to Europe. According to the latest ETC research, the Eastern Mediterranean region showed dramatic increases in US arrivals with Greece (+21%) and Cyprus (+27%).
Moving forward, the Horizon 2022 Strategy will include campaigns with influencers and operators, as well as a general consumer marketing campaign that will be targeted to the entire North American market through digital channels.
Ultimately, this is about a stronger value proposition. ETC wants to build on brand Europe and its identity.
Speaking following the North American launch, ETC’s Miguel Gallego stated: “More than anything, this strategy is about quality of place, quality for local citizens, their culture and heritage. With this strategy we can achieve a responsible tourism growth in which the benefits are in balance with the costs.”