EUROPEAN TRAVEL COMMISSION - COMMISSION EUROPÉENNE DU TOURISME
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CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES FOR ‘DESTINATION EUROPE’
E-marketing, market intelligence, operational excellence are the keys to the
success of European tourism in the years ahead.
Brussels, 1 September 2004. Outlining his vision for the European Travel
Commission, the organisation’s new President, Arthur Oberascher, CEO of the Austrian
National Tourist Office (ANTO), emphasises innovation as vital for marketing Europe to
potential guests around the world.
“I am tremendously excited about selling the world’s greatest product - Europe” says an
enthusiastic Oberascher, who quickly adds that “even the greatest product doesn’t sell
Selling Europe as a tourist destination requires getting closer to the customer. This
means finding out what customers want, what attracts potential guests to Europe.
Getting closer to the guest also means exciting them, motivating them, and delivering
the information they are looking for.
Oberascher points to three areas - e-marketing, market intelligence and operational
excellence - on which ETC has to focus in order to market Europe effectively, and to
provide added value for its members.
Tourism is an information and knowledge-intensive industry. Electronic marketing,
and the internet have revolutionised the tourism business. Other new media promise to
do the same in the future. Today, the world-wide web is the most important channel for
tourism marketing, because it brings products and services straight to the potential
guest’s desktop. The internet will thus be at the centre of the ETC’s activities.
The ETC is currently engaged in an ambitious project to develop a new European
tourism portal visiteurope.com, known officially as the ’European Tourism Destinations’
portal. The development phase of the project started in April of this year. Development
and construction of the portal is being funded by the European Union, through its IDA
Programme. ETC will take over operation of the new visiteurope.com site when it goes
online in late 2005.
The portal will become the centrepiece of ETC’s marketing efforts, giving it the capacity
and flexibility both to target established markets, and to develop the markets of the
future. This is something the ETC could not achieve by relying on conventional
marketing instruments and its modest budget. “The new visiteurope.com will allow us to
become a ‘virtual organization’ with a global reach”, says the ETC President.
Market intelligence is essential for tourism as an information-based industry. The
‘Image of Europe in North America’ study is an example of the relevant, timely market
intelligence research conducted by ETC. More market intelligence along these lines is
needed to learn about customers’ conceptions, wishes and expectations. This applies
equally to established markets such as the US and Canada or Japan, and to markets of
future promise. Oberascher cites in particular the new markets for European tourism
that are opening up in China, East Asia and India, as well as in Russia and the Ukraine.
Developing these opportunities is crucial to realising the strategic objective of increasing
Europe’s share of the global tourism cake.
Promoting operational excellence means helping member National Tourism
Organisations enhance their areas of core competence - for example, in using
information and communication systems, developing national brands, as well as
encouraging the exchange of marketing and management know-how and experience
among NTOs. Practice–related projects in these areas will make the ETC a vital
organisation, and help give member NTOs more added value.
An essential component of ETC’s marketing efforts must be to develop ’Brand Europe’.
Europe already has an identity - as is reflected in the ’Image of Europe in North America’
study - but this not the same as being a brand. Developing a brand identity requires
defining what makes Europe different from other holiday destinations: what themes or
values characterize ’Brand Europe’, what Europe’s unique selling proposition (or USP)
is. Developing ’Brand Europe’ goes to the core of motivating and exciting potential
guests. And a strong brand identity will imbue ETC marketing efforts with greater
impact and consistency.
Summing up his view of the tourism industry, Oberascher says, “some people in the
business worry about risks and threats; I prefer to think in terms of challenges and
opportunities”. The ETC President is confident that “through innovation - information &
communication technology, market intelligence and operational excellence - we can
master the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities to make the European
Travel Commission a platform for the success of European tourism”.
NOTE: All our Press Releases can be found (in English & French)
on ETC’s corporate website: www.etc-corporate.org
CONTACT: Lisa DAVIES - ETC Executive Unit, Brussels.
Tel.: 00 32 2 - 502 01 13 / Fax : 00 32 2 - 514 18 43 /
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