March 17 marked the 60th anniversary of the European Travel Agents’ and Tours Operators’ Association (ECTAA). On St Patrick’s Day in 1961, six associations decided to form an association to collectively represent the travel agents and tour operators in the newly formed European Economic Community.
Today ECTAA counts 32 member associations going beyond Europe’s borders and representing more than 70,000 travel agents and tour operators throughout Europe, including Ireland. Over the past 60 years its Members have built an industry that has facilitated travelling for millions of people by helping them to plan, choose and arrange their travel.
The sector has undergone fundamental changes and is still changing, which explains the diversity of enterprises and products: from typical brick and mortar shops to online retailers, from standardised package travel offers to tailored-made dynamic products, from regular mass tourism to more sustainable forms of travel, from simply booking to managing complex travel policies of large businesses. Travel agents and tour operators remain central in the distribution and the promotion of travel and tourism, both in the B2B and B2C segments.
The road ahead is not without challenges. Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the whole travel and tourism industry and all hopes are pinned on the summer for a restart of travel.
“Now, perhaps more than ever, it is useful to turn to a travel agent to help plan your trip and navigate through the complex landscape of travel restrictions”, said Pawel Niewiadomski, President of ECTAA. “Or to book a travel package guaranteeing travellers the highest level of protection.”
“At this time we are reminded of the instrumental role our Members played in the Association’s past, present, and future. We look forward to celebrating this milestone with our Members and industry partners” added Pawel Niewiadomski.
ECTAA is planning a number of activities to mark the occasion. All these activities will be organised with Visit Croatia, ECTAA’s Preferred Destination for 2021. ECTAA will hold the spring semi-annual meeting on 3 & 4 June 2021 in Zagreb.