Association of European Travel and Tourism Agencies

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History

AETTA traces its history back to 1992, when several industry participants got together in Milan for a conference organised by the World Tourism Organisation operating under the aegis of the United Nations. It was then decided to create an independent association specifically embracing travel and tourism agencies and focusing on influencing the decision-making process in the travel and tourism regulation in the European Community. The permanent office was established in Madrid.

By 1997 AETTA already counted more than 100 members representing 17 European countries. The members of the Association established two research groups dedicated to developing standards and recommendations for secure and safe travel. The objective was to spread these standards among the AETTA members and work with the national and regional governments as well as local communities to ensure the standards for safe and secure travel are firmly reflected and reinforced in the respective legislations.

Two further research groups dedicated to the issues of fair competition and environment were established in 2000 and 2003 respectively.

In 2004 during the Paris Conference of the Association it was realised that the processes of the globalisation of the travel and tourism industry require that all the actors working in the sphere of the European travel and tourism including non-European agencies should be able to sit at the same table to collectively solve the issues facing our industry. Thus, AETTA started accepting members from outside of the European Union.

In 2007 the members of AETTA established the research group focused on identifying industry-relevant infrastructural needs and influencing decision-makers of infrastructural projects.

As the European Community pressed forward for the promotion of an orderly development of travel and tourism industries in Europe, the Board of the Association decided to support this action and determined that AETTA should strengthen its focus on lobbying the collective interests of its members. As part of this move, in 2008 the permanent office of AETTA was transferred to Brussels.

Today the AETTA brings under one roof over one thousand travel and tourism agencies working in Europe or serving European destinations. All European countries are represented at AETTA and almost 35% of the members come from non-European countries. Each year members of the Association collectively serve 8.5 million clients, generate a total turnover of some EUR 4.7 billion and employ directly 22 000 people.

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