ETOA’S flagship Global European Marketplace (GEM) event is to be held online this year on October 30 as the organisation looks towards industry recovery from 2021.
The largest European tourism workshop of its kind usually takes place in London on the Friday before World Travel Market, attracting hundreds of trade buyers and suppliers doing business with thousands of pre-set matched appointments.
This year’s virtual event is set to be the biggest ever with the format enabling buyers to join from throughout the world.
Those from global source markets such as China, Japan, North America will be logging into pre-set appointments with suppliers across Europe for the first time.
ETOA chief executive Tom Jenkins said: “Nothing can replace the interaction and chance meetings that are gained in a real meeting.
“Tourism is built on the validity of live experiences. Mass live experiences are not feasible in the current situation.
“We look forward to the time when such events can take place, but what we are offering online is of unique value. And it can be done without any of the players incurring the time or cost of travelling to London.“
He added: “There is much to discuss. 2020 will go down as the industry’s annus horribilis.
“But it is in such circumstances that intermediaries add value – they help sell when sales are hard.
“2021 will be a year of recovery: a huge proportion of the clients who had to cancel have rescheduled into next year.
“And 2022 – for which GEM is the start of the planning process – will be the year of real returns to volume.
“All the surveys we have conducted indicate that the desire to holiday in Europe remains as strong as ever in both European and origin markets.
“The buyers attending GEM have a long record of converting such impulses into billions of euros of spending. GEM will be the place to plot that recovery.”