Representatives of 33 national tourist boards from around Europe are in Dublin this week for their Executive Council meeting. The European Travel Commission (ETC) is a non-profit making organisation with its headquarters in Brussels. Its Executive Council meetings are held twice a year and – at the invitation of Tourism Ireland, which is a member of the ETC – their 84th meeting is taking place in Dublin to mark the special year of The Gathering Ireland.
Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar addressed the delegates from the ETC. The agenda for their meeting included the appointment of a new President – Manuel Butler, director general of the Spanish Institute for Tourism. Also elected at the meeting were Gergely Horvath, from Hungary, and Marios Hannides, from Cyprus, as the organisation’s Vice Presidents.
Addressing delegates, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, spoke about the global importance of travel and tourism, noting the growth in travel in 2012 from both developing and mature markets. He said: “I am delighted to welcome the members of the European Travel Commission to Dublin for their Executive Council meeting, in our special year of The Gathering Ireland – a spectacular celebration of all that is Irish, including our music, literature, heritage and culture. The Gathering presents us with a wonderful opportunity to shine a spotlight on Ireland around the globe, helping to deliver growth in overseas tourism in 2013. Tourism Ireland aims to deliver a +5% increase in visitor numbers this year, with North America and Mainland Europe in particular representing significant potential.”
The ETC operates in four major international markets: Brazil, Canada, China and the USA. It is responsible for the promotion of Europe as a tourist destination and undertakes regular research projects providing valuable intelligence for its members. The ETC’s most recent report is European Tourism in 2012: Trends & Prospects Quarterly Report (Q4/2012), which found that inbound travel to Europe is expected to have grown by +4% in 2012.