The European Tourism Association (Etoa) will host its first major in person event this month since the pandemic as it plans for recovery from the Covid crisis.
More than 550 delegates, including nearly 200 buyers from B2B and wholesale operators, are already registered to attend the European marketplace in London on October 29.
An online event, Relaunch ’22, will follow online on November 30, where delegates from around the world, including those in the Americas and Asia will each access 44 appointments throughout the day.
Etoa chief executive Tom Jenkins said: “The volume of interest in these events is an indication of the determination of the industry to recover.
“Having live events are crucial in this industry. We deal in real experiences – nothing can replace the contacts and chance meetings that occur at our workshops.
“But we have learned that our online platform allows meetings with people from further flung destinations, which have generated meetings that would otherwise never take place and brings people together in an extremely effective way.
“At Relaunch ‘22 we will have hundreds of buyers from throughout the world joining to finalise 2022 and plan 2023.”
The organisation has signed an agreement with the Mexican Federation of Tourist Associations to enable the Mexican outbound industry to take part in Relaunch ‘22.
They will join Etoa’s established list of partners based as far apart as Shanghai and Seattle.
Jenkins added: “The last 18 months has meant hibernation for anyone selling Europe in the global marketplace.
“August and September have seen the return of some business from the US, mainly in Italy, France and Spain.
“The volumes were not vast. Etoa members report that numbers in these areas were roughly 30% of what they were moving in 2019.
“There are also some moribund destinations, notably the UK, which has seen no significant arrivals. But the enthusiasm for our networking events prove that the impulse to travel is there.
“Our members are clear on what is supressing arrivals. It is not fear, but the uncertainty caused by the differing restrictions erected by governments across Europe. The moment these are cleared, or at least co-ordinated, then business will come.
“Underpinning this are the substantial bookings Etoa members have carried over from 2020 and 2021.
“The recovery is coming. The scale and how it will manifest itself will be the discussion point of Recovery ’22.”