ECTAA announces Frank Oostdam as new President

ECTAA announces Frank Oostdam as new President

Frank Oostdam, President of the Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (ANVR), has been elected today as President of the travel agents and tour operators of Europe.

Nicosia, 10 June 2022. During its semi-annual meeting held on 9 and 10 June in Nicosia, the representatives of the travel agents and tour operators of Europe elected Frank Oostdam, Netherlands, as President for a two-year term. Heli Mäki-Fränti, Finland, was elected Vice-President and Marios Kammenos, Greece, was re-elected Treasurer. The delegates also thanked Pawel Niewiadomski, the outgoing president, for his commitment and achievements during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Frank Oostdam said: “I am very honoured to be elected as President of ECTAA. The travel and tourism industry in Europe faces multiple challenges. Covid-19 pandemic is not over and the war in Ukraine, the increasing energy prices and shortage of skilled labour force are putting additional pressure on travel companies. My first priority will be therefore to work with political leaders and industry partners on setting the right framework for our industry to recover from the past two years and be able to operate. At the same time, I am a firm believer that travel companies should give sustainability a prominent role in their renewed business strategy. This is why ECTAA will actively help its members to bring the right support to companies to act as quickly as possible.”

 

Note the editors:

ECTAA regroups the national associations of travel agents and tour operators of 30 European countries and represents some 70.000 enterprises.

Greece: ECTAA’s Preferred Destination for 2022

While the political and economic context remains difficult for the whole tourism industry, 2022 will hopefully be synonym of recovery for travel and tourism in Europe. To turn hopes into reality, the Greek National Tourist Organisation and ECTAA signed an agreement to make Greece the Preferred Destination of the European umbrella association of travel agents and tour operators.

Brussels, 8 April 2022. With the agreement, ECTAA pledges to promote Greece as its Preferred Destination among the 70.000 travel agents and tour operators across Europe, highlighting the loving and hospitable locals, the stunning coastlines, beautiful islands, delicious cuisine and high-quality tourism infrastructure that offer memorable holidaying throughout the year: #AllYouWantIsGreece will become familiar for many European travellers.

During the 12 coming months, ECTAA will become an essential partner in the travel and tourism promotion programme outside of Greece by fostering relations between European travel agents and tour operators with the local destination management companies and other partners. GNTO and ECTAA will work hand in hand to not only promote Greece as one of the most attractive destinations in Europe but also as one of the safest.

"We are proud that the GNTO is confident in our preferred destination programme of the year. We are working together to make the best of it and give an opportunity for Greece to present again itself as a safe, innovative and sustainable destination in front of as many as 70,000 travel agencies and tour operators across Europe” said Eric Drésin, Secretary General of ECTAA.

Many activities are foreseen until the end of the year. These include actions aimed at positioning Greece as an attractive and a safe tourist destination. Moreover, a specific attention will be dedicated on the efforts of Greek authorities and tourism service providers to make Greece a sustainable destination. During the coming months, ECTAA and the GNTO will shed the light on break-through initiatives that have been recently taken in different parts of the country. This will notably take place during a series of webinars for travel agents and tour operators will take place during the two first weeks of May and to be formally announced in the coming days.

Greece is a fascinating year-round holiday destination in the Mediterranean. ECTAA is impatient to hold its semi-annual meeting in November in Creta: an occasion for the national delegates of ECTAA to get acquainted with the tourist experience outside the summer season and possibly start prospecting for future congresses of travel agents and tour operators in Greece.

People have waited patiently for better days to come. Now that these days are almost over, dreaming about a tailor-made holiday in Greece can start: for pleasure, for holiday, for a long weekend, for business, work or just for a short trip, Greece is the place to be!

Eric Drésin confirmed: “despite the current uncertainties, the tourism sector and travellers around the world eagerly await the return of travel. As ECTAA Preferred destination for 2022, the safety and proximity of Greece as a destination, the diversity and quality of its tourist offer, and certainly the breath-taking nature, unique heritage and gastronomy will be the centre of our promotion efforts. We are confident that this cooperation will bring successfully more travellers to Greece”.

Learn more from https://www.visitgreece.gr/ and from http://www.ectaa.eu

 

 

Announcement of an open call for SMEs - European tour operators and travel agents can now apply for an intensive, EU-funded support programme to improve their sustainability performance

ECTAA and a number of its member associations are participating in the EU-funded SUSTOUR project that fosters the uptake of sustainability tools and practices among travel agents and tour operators.

A call for SME application has been launched today with the aim to select 175+ European small and medium sized enterprisesthat will obtain technical support for the implementation of sustainability practices.

Brussels, 11 March 2022. Sustainability in tourism is the central challenge that the industry is facing in the 21st century. Now more than ever, we are aware of the vulnerability of life and how important it is to protect the beauty of our planet, which is the foundation of every tourism product. Travel agents and tour operators play a key role in this, given their position as intermediates between tourists, suppliers and destinations and thereby influencing consumer choices, supplier practices and destination development.

“The SUSTOUR project is a real opportunity for SMEs who would like to ’build back better’ in a postCOVID world. Thanks to the support of the European Commission, we can offer them this very intensive support programme” says Naut Kusters, Managing Director of ECEAT (European Centre for Eco and Agro Tourism) and Travelife for Tour Operators, the leading training, management and certification scheme.

This call for SME applications has been launched to select a minimum of 175 SMEs that will be able to benefit from a comprehensive support programme to help improve their sustainability performance. SMEs can choose to obtain support towards sustainability certification and/or implementation of innovative practices in their supply chain. All participating SMEs will receive the EU co-financing. SUSTOUR will additionally cover the remaining contribution for all SMEs that are members of a SUSTOUR partner or supporting travel association. Participation in the support programme for such SMEs is therefore free of charge. All other SMEs will have to provide an own contribution, ranging between 200€-400€ depending on the size of the SME.

The call for SME application is open until 10 May 2022, 17h00 CET.

The selection of SMEs will be completed by 7 of June.

The technical support programme is expected to start end of June 2022 and will end on 30 June 2023.

The call details and application guidelines are available from the following website: https://www.travelife.info/sustour/?menu=call-for-smes.

Said Pawel Niewiadomski, President of ECTAA: “We encourage travel agents and tour operators to use the opportunities provided by this project and contribute step-by-step to a more sustainable tourism. As an important player of the tourism value chain, we have a shared responsibility to manage tourism in a sustainable way for present and future generations.”

The SUSTOUR project is led by a consortium composed of ECEAT and Futouris as well as 5 travel agents’ and tour operators’ associations, including ECTAA (Europe), ANVR (Netherland), UHPA (Croatia), SMAL (Finland) and APAVT (Portugal).

*** Background information

What is the SUSTOUR support programme for SMEs and what does it offer?

The SUSTOUR support programme for SMEs is financed under the EU COSME programme and designed to help tour operators and travel agencies in improving their sustainability performance. Travel companies interested to get started on sustainability or wishing to improve on their existing sustainability practices can benefit from a mix of innovative online trainings, multi-day classroom trainings, intensive coaching (group and individual) as well as peer-to-peer learning – all provided and guided by selected sustainable tourism experts.

How does the support programme work and what is required from companies?

Companies that have been selected in the call will be eligible to participate in a number of training and coaching sessions that are expected to start from end of June 2022 until June 30th , 2023. They will receive vouchers, which they have to hand over to pre-selected trainers, coaches and auditors after completion of an activity, who in turn will be paid by the SUSTOUR project. Companies that participate in the SUSTOUR call for SME support will be required to sign an agreement committing themselves to following the activities provided under the support programme until the end of June 2023.

Who are the partner or supporting travel associations?

The project partner travel associations include ANVR (Netherland), APAVT (Portugal), SMAL (Finland) and UHPA (Croatia). The supporting travel associations include ABTTA (Bulgaria), ABTO (Belgium), ALTA (Latvia), ATTA (Adventure Travel Trade Association – Europe), ASR and DRV (Germany), DRF (Denmark), EDV and SETO (France), ETFL (Estonia), ETOA (Europe), FATTA (Malta), FTO (Italy), HATTA (Greece), MUISZ (Hungary), NTVA (Lithuania), SACKA (Slovakia), SRF (Sweden), UPAV and VVR (Belgium) and WKÖ (Austria).

Who can apply?

The call is open to travel agents and tour operators, who meet certain eligibility criteria. Among others, they need to be a SME and established in an EU Member State or a third country participating in the COSME programme.

Deadline for submission of applications: Tuesday 10 May, 2022

Expected duration of participation: end of June 2022 to June 30th , 2023

Maximum financial support for selected SMEs: SMEs selected by the call will receive vouchers for support services of a value up to 6,000€, depending on the options selected by the SME in its application form.

Language in which proposals must be submitted: English, but support services will be available in various languages.

Where can I apply and find further information?

The call details and application guidelines are available from the following website: https://www.travelife.info/sustour/?menu=call-for-smes

Official project reference: SUSTOUR, GRO/SME/19/C/077 (COS-TOURCOOP-2019-3-01)

 

About ECTAA

ECTAA represents some 70,000 travel agents and tour operators in Europe, which provide consultancy and sell transport, accommodation, leisure and other tourism services as well as combined products to leisure and business customers. 

ALTA joins European programme to promote sustainability among SMEs

ALTA is participating to the EU SUSTOUR project that fosters the uptake of sustainability tools and practices among travel agents and tour operators. As part of the project at least 175 European enterprises will obtain technical support. They will work towards Travelife certification and on the introduction of carbon, plastic and supply chain management tools. The programme is financially supported by the EU COSME programme, supporting the competitiveness of the European SME sector.

Riga, December 10, 2021. Sustainable tourism is no longer a niche product or market. All types of tourism can and must be made more sustainable. And all actors in the tourism value chain, including travel agents and tour operators, have a vital role to play in this transformation. As intermediates between tourists and tourism businesses tour operators and travel agents can influence the choices of consumers, practices of suppliers and the development in destinations.

The project will provide free technical support for travel agents and tour operators that want to improve their sustainability performance. A call for application for SME support will be launched later this year to offer interested travel agents and tour operators the opportunity to work towards Travelife certification, which is the leading training, management and certification scheme specifically designed for travel agents and tour operators and globally supported by the travel industry. The technical support will include training, one-on-one and group coaching to implement sustainability best practices, and Travelife certification. Companies can also apply for specific support packages related to carbon, plastic and / or supply chain management.

At the end of the project, it is expected that 175+ SMEs will benefit from the wider direct financial support programme rolled out under this project.

Said Inga Kavaca, Chairman of the board: “We encourage our members to use the opportunities provided by this project and contribute step-by-step to a more sustainable tourism. As an important player of the tourism value chain, we have a shared responsibility to manage tourism is a sustainable way for present and future generations.”

About SUSTOUR

SUSTOUR aims to foster the capacities and skills of 175+ tour operators (SME’s) to implement training, management systems, standards and solutions, which will improve their sustainable management and performance and open up new market opportunities. SMEs from all EU countries will be able to benefit from SUSTOUR.

SUSTOUR is a three-year project funded by the EU COSME programme. It is managed jointly by ECEAT, FUTOURIS, ECTAA, UHPA, SMAL, ANVR and APAVT. In addition more than 15 national associations are supporting the initiative. The strong support will mainstream sustainability within the travel sector.

For more information, visit the project website.

Covid-19: Tourism Ministers and the Commission need to step up efforts for travel and tourism

Ahead of the informal meeting of the Tourism Ministers next week, ECTAA calls on the European leaders to come up with a more substantial rescue package, a coordinated covid-19 exit strategy and ambitious recovery plan for travel and tourism.

Brussels. 24 April 2020. The travel bans and closing of borders imposed to help contain the covid-19 spread has brought travel and tourism to a halt. Tourism hotspots are deserted, hotels and restaurants hauntingly empty, aircrafts parked on runways. The activity of a whole industry is suspended, with devastating impact for businesses, most of which are SMEs and family-run enterprises.

Tourism Ministers are meeting next Monday for an informal Council meeting. It is time for them, according to the European travel agents and tour operators association, to take coordinated action, as 80% of tourist arrivals in Europe are from intra-EU source markets.

Travel and tourism is the most affected sector, being the first to be hit and one of the last one to get out of the Covid-19 crisis with the phased lifting of travel restrictions. The road ahead is long and hard and financial support measures are key for the survival of the industry. But so far, they are few and aid has not yet reached the enterprises. “We need more financial commitment from Members States to this important industry, which contributes more than 10% of EU GDP and provides 12 million jobs” said Pawel Niewiadomski, President of ECTAA.

ECTAA strongly believe that is it time for the Commission and the Member States to set up in addition an ambitious recovery plan for the industry. Tourism must be firmly anchored in the Marshall recovery plan announced by Commission President von der Leyen. Tourism Ministers should cooperate and coordinate with the European Commission to see how such recovery plan is best implemented at national level to allow the sector to lift off again and help the transition to a more sustainable, digital and innovative tourism”.

“But this should not prevent Tourism Ministers to raise the issue of vouchers to the Commission”, added Pawel Niewiadomski. “While travel companies would like to refund their customers, there is no more cash in the system. A pragmatic solution helping travel companies to overcome the liquidity crisis without trading off consumer protection is needed”. ECTAA and many other stakeholders call for a temporary derogation from European legislations to offer vouchers in lieu of refunds, that are flexible, refundable at end of term and are guaranteed against the insolvency of the travel company.

While the industry commits to guarantee the consumers that they will be able to travel as soon travel restrictions are lifted, ECTAA calls on European leaders to adopt a common approach as regards the gradual lifting of the lock-down and conditions to restart travel and tourism. Industry could develop common guidelines on such issues as respect for social-distancing and hygiene rules, but different rules imposed in different countries must be avoided.

Pawel Niewiadomski, concluded “We are in an unprecedented crisis. We need to think out of the box. We need actions and we need them now. Otherwise many tourism actors will disappear and European tourism will contract. Nobody stands to win anything from this.”

The European travel agents and tour operators call upon the new Commission to work towards a competitive, transparent and sustainable travel market

The European Parliament approved yesterday the new von der Leyen Commission that will lead the European Commission until 2024. All the Commissioners are now ready to take office. ECTAA, the European organisation representing the travel agents and tour operators, is committed to help them make the travel market more competitive, more transparent and more sustainable.

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