For the first 2014 Tourism Around Europe newsletter we interviewed Mr Peter De Wilde, the new President of the European Travel Commission (ETC). ETC is the organization responsible for the promotion of Europe as a tourist destination. Mr Wilde has been CEO of the Tourist Office for Flanders – Visit Flanders since 2009. He takes on the responsibility of leading the portfolio of research and marketing activities of the European Travel Commission towards the implementation of the Destination Europe 2020 strategy. As Jlag, we attended the Destination Europe 2020 conference, and we were impressed from the link between the research and marketing units within the ETC, as well as the active participation of European stakeholders. In this issue we talk with Mr Peter De Wilde to know more about the future of Europe as unique tourist destination.
As new President of the European Travel Commission, which are the first changes you have put in place? Which is the key driver of your activity at the ETC? Which his your vision of innovation in tourism?
As President of the ETC I will focus on the following targets:
- To increase marketing efforts by clearly defining the position of Europe, rethinking the choice of target markets and further building up ETC’s market intelligence;
- To let the organisation evolve into the primary partner of all relevant public and private tourism bodies;
- To introduce a light and modern governance of the organisation and an appropriate stakeholder management;
- And to continue the successful collaboration with the European Commission.
Which key markets the ETC is addressing through the Destination Europe 2020 strategy?
The Destination Europe 2020 joint initiative with the European Commission focusses on four key markets: Brazil, Canada, China and USA. ETC considers these markets to be the most important outbound travel markets for Europe today, representing both ‘mature’ markets, in which Europe risks losing market share against other competing destinations such as Latin America and Asia, as well as ‘emerging’ markets, where Europe has the opportunity to take advantage of the increasing affluence and demand for leisure travel from the emerging middle classes in these countries.
This does not imply that we are blind for opportunities in other regions or other target groups in the world.
Do you think “sustainable tourism” can represent a new brand for promoting Europe as unique destination?
Sustainable tourism stands for quality, long-term thinking, innovation and efficiency. The sustainable development of a tourist destination seeks a balance in the relationship between economic, ecological and socio – cultural aspects.
In this sense sustainable tourism is much more an attitude, a policy and a process that presently leads to improved quality for all parties involved and in the future safeguards the tourism development of the destination.
How does the ETC engage the private sector?
The ETC holds a long standing history to unite the NTO’s of Europe in a common goal to promote travel to Destination Europe. We recently embarked upon a successful joint initiative with the European Commission to co-define the strategy for Destination Europe towards 2020. In this process we have involved the private industry to share their views and opinions on the future development of European tourism.
With several industry partners like ETOA the ETC holds a long working relationship and at the last ITB the ETC signed a strategic partnership agreement with Amadeus. In future I will seek a more structural involvement of the key industry representatives in the policies and operations of our organization.
How can local tourism organisations, public and private, benefit from the ETC work?
The primary goal of the ETC is to attract tourists from selected target markets. By being successful in its task, long haul tourists will visit Europe and local communities and the private sector will benefit from their travels and visits.
As a knowledge driven organization the ETC has a long history in market research. Together with partners such as the UNWTO, ETC disseminates these research reports and organizes workshops and conferences on these matters. All this information and events we are eager to share with the local tourism organizations, public and private.