EU operator meet focuses on networking

The European inbound travel industry are due to meet next month at the Global European Marketplace in London’s Earls Court.  The event, organised by the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA), is already set to be 20% larger than it was last year.

The launch of GEM coincides with a move to hold the Annual Conference and Workshop alongside each other on one day.

“We had to recognise that the industry is changing,” said Tom Jenkins, Executive Director of ETOA.  “When the Association was founded, there were clear divisions between Tour Operators (who had something to buy) and suppliers (who were trying to sell). Now relationships are much more complex: as businesses need to buy and sell simultaneously, the ability to network becomes more important.”

“We will continue to have the largest spread of purchasing tables in Europe, and an extremely dense schedule of pre-set appointments. If booking trends continue, we should have nearly 180 tables of tour operators, handling over 5,400 appointments with suppliers. This is what we have always done.”

“In addition, we are creating time and space for networking with a conference taking place alongside the workshop. There we will be discussing matters of crucial concern to all aspects of the industry - supplier, wholesaler, online intermediary and inbound alike. Those attending the Conference will be encouraged to network in the workshop, and those at the workshop will be encouraged to take part in the conference.”

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“I am delighted that the European industry has been so enthusiastic about this event.  It is not an easy time for tour operators, e-commerce or wholesalers. Some origin markets are softening, hotels are achieving record prices in many important centres and new regulations (particularly concerning working time) have proved to be as expensive and complicated to implement as we had feared.  The healthy level of bookings for GEM reflects the need to keep abreast of developments in a very fast-changing market and a real hunger to find new ideas and new partners.”
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