Europe turns to matchmaking to get love from China, US travellers

Europe is planning a series of eight educational conferences and B2B matchmaking events targeted at the US and China, set for launch in 2018, which has been designated EU-China Tourism year.

Recognising that many intercontinental tourists see Europe as a unified destination, the Partnerships in European Tourism programme will focus on themes and routes of interest to the visitor – such as family travel, culture, film and TV, lifestyle and romance – instead of specific countries, cities or sights.

Tourists at Jungfrau, Switzerland

The programme will kick off with its first event in Venice on January 19, 2018, while the second will take place in Berlin in March, coinciding with ITB Berlin. The conference and matchmaking workshop will focus on Europe’s culture, pan-European itineraries (such as river cruising) and group tours.

The third conference will be held in April in Beijing, with an emphasis on family travel and catering to European companies seeking to tap outbound demand from China.

Details on subsequent events in China and the US will be announced later.

The programme is funded by the European Commission and delivered by a consortium made up of the European Tourism Association (ETOA), the European Travel Commission and the European Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (ECTAA).

Tom Jenkins, CEO, ETOA, said: “The Partnerships in European Tourism programme… recognises the high value of strong business relationships between supplier companies in the EU and potential customers in external origin markets.”

Added Michel de Blust, secretary general of ECTAA: “This initiative provides a unique opportunity to strengthen tourism relationships with strategic partners in third country markets, with a view to increasing travel and tourism. It will also foster cooperation among European tourism companies for the promotion of EU transnational products.”

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