Following ETOA’s recent City Tourism Seminar in Florence, the association is planning to hold further such meetings in other European destinations. The seminars will bring together representatives of the local tourism community such as hotels, guides, attractions, and transport providers, as well as tour operators, tourist boards, and political representation from local authorities.
The discussion will revolve around each city’s challenges and opportunities as a tourist destination. Topics to be covered will be access, facilities, capacity management, product diversity, and sustainability. ETOA sees these events as invaluable forums, and it is hoped that the outcomes will not only help tourism in the particular cities but also form the basis of a city tourism charter.
“If our association has a leitmotif, it is Europe’s competitiveness as a destination,” said Nick Greenfield, Head of Tour Operator Relations at ETOA. “Europe is particularly strong when it comes to cities as tourist destinations. We have an embarrassment of riches, not just in terms of historic sights but also in gastronomy, culture, shopping, attractions, and the very fabric of the streets and squares. And from large metropolises to small art cities, there is something for everyone.
“However, we must recognise that tourism doesn’t just work of its own accord. It requires joined up thinking from all the stakeholders, and that includes local authorities. Policy decisions can undermine all the hard work done by tourist boards in promotion. City taxes, lack of facilities, or even an indifferent welcome can damage the image of a city and hurt the local economy. Equally, we recognize the challenges that tourism can present to cities and that’s where we can help by bringing people together to discuss these issues and work towards ensuring the continued success of destinations.”
These seminars will form a part of what is becoming a city-themed year for ETOA with a flagship event, City Fair, to be held on June 20 in London in partnership with European Cities Marketing.