ETOA chief speaks about opportunities presented by China to Europe’s tourism industry

Published on : Wednesday, December 20, 2017

etoa2018 will be the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year as part of a partnership formed last year between the European Union (EU) and China. This partnership was formed with the aim of increasing travel from China to Europe. This initiative is being supported by the European Commission and the European Tourism Association (ETOA), formerly the European Tour Operators Association.


ETOA chief Tom Jenkins spoke about the opportunities that the Chinese source market presents to the Europe’s tourism industry and whether the U.S. outbound market to Europe should feel threatened.


He said that the ETOA’s association with China goes back 20 years and that they are very interested in the Chinese market. China is indeed a growth market, but China is starting off from a reasonably small base. Jenkins said that it’s the unknown that is attractive. China is unknown; hence, it’s exotic. It holds a lot of promise for the future.


Jenkins said that Europe is very much a unitary market for long-haul visitors, and that’s particularly the case with the Chinese. They don’t see Europe as a whole series of individual countries. They see it as a single destination in the same way that Europeans see China as a single destination. So it makes perfect sense to get suppliers from Europe with something in common and get them to sell to the Chinese.


Jenkins added that there are capacity issues in Europe; however, such capacity issues are not caused by the Chinese. The Chinese represent a fraction of the volume that the Americans represent. The capacity crunch comes foremost from other Europeans. Capacity management on every level is a big issue in Europe for the next 10 to 15 years. But the Chinese aren’t crowding Americans out of Europe.


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