Europe calls for visa reform

Press conference

  • Date03.11.2015
  • Time11.30 AM
  • Location of VenueLondon
  • VenueWORLD TRAVEL MARKET, Platinum Suite 6 (Press Centre)


  • Peter De Wilde

    President, European Travel Commission

    Peter De Wilde has been CEO of Visit Flanders since 2009 and President of the European Travel Commission since January 2014. Under his guidance, ETC supports member NTO’s in their portfolio of marketing and research activities in major long-haul markets with the aim to strengthen and increase competitiveness of the travel brand Europe.

  • Mark Henry

    Vice-President, European Travel Commission

    Mark Henry coordinates ETC’s action to seek improved visa regimes for leisure travellers in Europe, which is essential for the continent to maximise its share of global tourism growth in the decades ahead. He is also Central Marketing Director at Tourism Ireland.

  • Helen Marano

    VP Government & Industry Affairs, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)

    Prior to joining WTTC, Helen held senior positions at the U.S. government’s national tourism office in the U.S. Department of Commerce, where she was closely involved in implementing a highly effective programme of visa reform - as a consequence of which the wait time for a tourist visa to visit the USA was cut from over six months to less than a week.

  • David Goodger

    Director, Tourism Economics

    David Goodger has been instrumental in developing the global model of tourism flows and spending, which covers 190 origin and destination markets. He manages the regular forecast updates requiring in depth analysis using the existing suite of Oxford Economics’ models at a global, national and regional level.

Useful information

Europe is at a cross-roads. How open are the nations of Europe to welcoming those from beyond our borders?

If European destinations are interested in growing their share of global tourism, then there is only one correct path to follow, that of increased openness. This does not mean that Europe should grant blanket permission for all to enter, and it certainly does not imply ignoring national security and immigration concerns. What it means is that Europe needs to make it easier than it is currently for leisure tourists and other legitimate travellers to come here and to come back again.

Europe is losing share of global tourism arrivals. Our visa regimes are a contributory factor in this decline. It is within our power to change this and to improve our continent’s tourism competitiveness. ETC has done the maths – there is a significant economic prize worth seizing.

ETC and Tourism Economics have undertaken a study that models the incremental gains that would flow from improved visa regimes for ‘Destination Europe’ for 10 priority source markets. The study, among other things, considers visitor arrivals, revenue, economic expansion and job creation.

The findings of the study will be released at the press conference at this year's WTM London.

To gain media accreditation for the press conference or for further information, please contact David Tarsh on +44 20 7602 5262 (o) or +44 7770 816 070 (m).
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