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The European Travel Commission (ETC) is an international organisation responsible for the promotion of Europe as a tourist destination. Its members are the national tourism organisations (NTOs) of thirty-three Members, including EU member states, as well as, Iceland, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey. The national tourism organizations of all sovereign states in Europe are eligible for full membership of the European Travel Commission. Regional cross-border organizations and tourism-related bodies may join as associate members. The European Travel Commission is neither part of the European Commission nor an institution of the European Union.
The establishment of national tourism organizations rapidly led to the creation of the “International Union of Official Tourist Publicity Organizations”: its first mission was the launch of a joint publicity campaign named “Europe Calling”.
This union became the International Union of Official Travel Organisations (IUOTO), which is today known as the World Tourism Organization, WTO.
In its first General Assembly, the IUOTO adopted the principle of Regional Commissions: 19 European countries were represented and those countries decided to establish the first such Commission. Since its creation, ETC, has been a results-oriented organisation working closely with government agencies and all segments of the industry to achieve practical objectives. First priority was given to making governments aware of the importance of tourism in their national economies, which had been deeply disturbed by World War II. That is why ETC has always supported an international co-operation, a collective action and the building of a European solidarity.
Henri Ingrand (France), the first chairman of the ETC had settled the basic principles for its operations. The second one, Arthur Haulot (Belgium) drafted in 1958, its official statutes in accordance with the Belgium law. When the Commission was transferred to Dublin in 1965 with Timothy O’Driscoll as chairman, these statutes remained the only “legal” constitution of the ETC. New statutes were drafted in 1987 when the headquarters were transferred to Paris under the chairmanship of Walter Leu (Switzerland). In 1996, when the ETC moved to Brussels a new version was adopted to the Belgian legislation under the chairman Walter Leu (Switzerland). Constitution was modified and adopted at the General Meeting n°66 following the 2002 law.
In 1948, the original membership of the European Travel Commission was 19 countries. At that time Eastern European countries, members of IUOTO were invited to participate. None of these countries accepted, apparently due to political reasons. Germany, Yugoslavia, Malta and Cyprus joined the Commission a few years later.
ETC sees itself as a virtual organisation marketing Europe as a tourist destination in global markets, primarily by means of the internet. The three principal focuses of the Commission's work are electronic marketing, market intelligence and operational excellence. ETC seeks to provide added value to members by encouraging exchange of information and management expertise and promoting awareness about the role played by national tourism organisations.
The members elect a President, three Vice-Presidents, a Board of Directors, a Chairman of the Market Intelligence Group and a Chairman of the e-Marketing Network for revolving two years terms.
ETC is entirely financed by Members’ contributions, calculated according to a set of agreed criteria. Additional financial support for specific campaigns is raised overseas. Long-standing local industry support for ETC’s activities is proof of its credibility in the field.
The representatives of the overseas offices of the European national tourism organisations operating in the various long-haul markets join together to form an ETC Operations Group and elect a Chairman. They decide on a programme of joint activities for the promotion of Europe for the year ahead, propose a budget, and seek local industry support.
This programme is submitted for approval to ETC’s Members in Europe, who meet twice a year (in Spring and Autumn) for a General Meeting.
ETC currently promotes and markets “Destination Europe” around the world through its operations groups in the United States, Canada, Asia (China) and Latin America (Brazil). ETC also plans to extend its activities to other emerging markets such as India and Russia.
Vital to ETC activities are its Market Intelligence Group and e-Marketing Network. The Market Intelligence Group commissions and produces market intelligence studies, handbooks on methodologies and best practice, and facilitates the exchange of European tourism statistics on “TourMIS”.
The e-Marketing Network provides information and expertise about the use of digital media by national tourism organisations, produces the “ETC Digital”, and organises an e-Business Academy once a year. The work of all operations groups is carried out by experts from member NTOs.
Visiteurope.com is the official website of the European Travel Commission (ETC). ETC markets Europe as tourist destination on behalf of its 33 member countries. Under a pair of soaring wings, a symbol of travel and discovery deeply rooted in Europe's myths and history, visiteurope.com brings the excitement of a European vacation to potential guests around the world with localised versions in a number of major languages. The content of visiteurope.com is brought jointly by ETC and the national tourism organisations.