ETC's Transatlantic Conference Explores Brand Europe's Pathways to Future Growth, With Plans to Reinstitute Conference on Annual Basis

May 14, 2013, 15:52 ET from European Travel Commission

NEW YORK, May 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Noting the critical contribution tourism makes to European economies, demonstrated by sustained growth even during the Continent's continuing downturn, the European Travel Commission (ETC) brought back its popular Transatlantic Conference on Thursday, May 9, 2013 in New York – and announced it will reinstitute the Conference as an annual event. The Conference was attended by representatives of the ETC's 33 national tourism organization members, industry partners who market Europe as a top tourist destination for North American travelers and noted media who cover the business of travel and tourism. 

Plans to host the next Transatlantic Conference in New York during first quarter 2014 are under discussion at the ETC's headquarters in Brussels.

"At our first Transatlantic Conference in three years," said Manuel Butler, president of the ETC, "we considered consumer trends and the transformative power of travel in Europe, where adventure travel was born. We anticipate sustained growth of up to four per cent per year leading up to 2020.  This represents approximately 43 million new tourists every year and as many as 1.8 billion new tourists by 2030." 

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Europe tallied more than half of all international tourist arrivals in 2012, or 535 million foreign visitors. With 20.6 million from the U.S. and 4.2 million from Canada, Europe is expected to maintain its dominant status despite growing competition from emerging destinations.  In 2012, also according to the UNWTO, six of the world's "top ten" tourism destinations by arrivals were in Europe: Spain, Italy, Turkey, Germany, France and the U.K.

During the Conference, keynote speaker Richard Bangs, PBS host and adventure traveler, underscored what ETC research shows: individually tailored travel responding to personal interests of travelers is the future of travel. "We are all looking for the story that 'stars us' when we travel," noted Bangs. "Human DNA is programmed to seek exploration and transformative experiences."      

Actor turned travel writer, Andrew McCarthy, continued this theme at an evening networking reception at the Loft and Garden in Rockefeller Center, during which he revealed a personal epiphany on a trek in northern Spain.  He then charged the audience of travel professionals with the mission of helping travelers discover the nuances of Europe and to look beyond the usual stories.

Together with the European Commission, ETC has designed its "Destination Europe 2020" initiative – now in its 18-month 'consideration' phase, ending March 2014 – to involve the tourism industry in defining a long-term strategy for Europe as a tourist destination.  Captivating repeat visitors with new experiences in Europe, cultivating new visitors for trips with bragging rights, reaching younger audiences through social media and developing new destinations in emerging markets are all keys to a strategy of growth and competition with other destinations.

For more information, go to ETC's Transatlantic Conference or to ETC Corporate. Travelers can go to Visit Europe.

Media Contact: Dave Kleinman, High Regard Communications, email: phone: 646 346 0515

SOURCE European Travel Commission