About Us

“Partnerships in European Tourism” is an EU initiative aimed at supporting EU tourism  businesses and operators wishing to expand their businesses into the Chinese and US markets, through tutoring activities, facilitating new collaborations and partnerships around  trans-European tourist products and the organisation of B2B matchmaking and other promotional events alongside international fairs.

The aim is to:

  1. Bring European operators from different member states together, facilitating partnerships, the development of transnational products and complementarities;
  2. Improve the visibility of European trans-national touristic products in third country markets;
  3. Improve the awareness about EU actions on, amongst others, passenger and consumer rights, security, accessibility, visa facilitation, sustainable and responsible tourism, which are among Europe’s main competitive advantages.

This action is implemented by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) as part of COSME – the EU Programme for the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs). For more information on the COSME Programme please click here.

This initiative is being delivered by a consortium of ETOA – European tourism association, the European Travel Commission (ETC) and the European Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (ECCTA).


Website: www.etoa.org
ETOA was founded in 1989 as an association for tour operators who sold Europe as a destination in long-haul origin markets. It has evolved since those early days to embrace regional operators, online intermediaries, wholesale travel companies and any commercial player who is interested in selling themselves as part of a pan-European product. It now numbers over 800 members, including intermediaries and European based suppliers.


Website: www.etc-corporate.org
ETC was created more than 65 years ago with the aim to promote Europe as a tourist destination in long-haul markets. In recent years the organisation has shifted from focusing on established markets such as the US to exploring the potential of emerging source markets. The organization has opened an Operations’ Group in China since 2011 and in the last few years has dedicated a fourth of its marketing budget to attracting Chinese tourists to the European destinations. ETC also has a dedicated press and communication agency in China, which effectively runs and manages ETC relationships with trade and local media, including sales calls, relationships meetings, roundtables and workshops.


Website: www.ectaa.org
ECTAA regroups 36 national associations of travel agents and tour operators in 30 European countries as well as 3 neighbouring Mediterranean countries. In terms of figures, ECTAA represents almost 70.000 travel agencies and tour operators, engaged in both incoming and outgoing tourism business. The mission of ECTAA is to represent the travel agents and tour operators vis-à-vis the EU institutions and international organisations as well as national and local tourism authorities on all issues of a legal, economic or technical nature relating to the tourism and travel trade.

What is “Partnerships in European Tourism”?

The Partnerships in European Tourism (PET) is an initiative from the European Commission aimed at supporting EU tourism businesses and operators wishing to expand their businesses into the Chinese and US markets, through tutoring activities, facilitating new collaborations and partnerships around trans-European tourist products and the organisation of B2B matchmaking and other promotional events alongside international fairs.

The PET project runs throughout 2018 until the beginning of 2019. The events in China form part of the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year.

Why do I need to go through an application process?

Thanks to the funding from the European Commission, the EU businesses can participate to all events free of charge and benefit from additional complimentary services (see “What’s included?”).

In order to achieve that, the number of participants for the single events has to be limited and the organisers aim at giving to each suitable company at least one opportunity to participate at some point during 2018/2019.

Therefore, priority will be given to the first-time attendees and companies whose profile best match the events’ themes (for the themes, see www.eutravelpartnerships.org/events). If your company is rejected for one event, you can still apply for future events unless you don’t fall into the selection criteria (see “Who can apply?”).

Who can apply?

The following selection criteria might apply:

  • Companies must be registered and based in a EU country or a country that is part of the COSME alliance, download list here.
  • Preference will be given to those companies with a track record of being part of an multi-country network or having formed a partnership with other EU businesses in order to capitalise on the competitive advantages.
  • Governmental bodies and public representation companies (i.e. tourist boards) have a less of a chance of successful selection. The project is aimed at supporting private entities; especially small and medium enterprises.

My application has been accepted. Can I bring a colleague?

The number of participants for each events has to be capped in order to ensure a fair distribution of funds to all companies. Participation is limited to one person per company. Bringing a colleague is not allowed; but also it is not necessary as the events are designed to ensure the maximum ROI for one attendee. All the benefits listed under “What’s included” are strictly only for one person per company and it is not possible to purchase additional access to the events.

What’s included?

  • Free participation at B2B matchmaking, offering pre-arranged meetings with Chinese and/or US companies
  • Free attendance at thematic, market-focussed conference
  • Free access to related trade show; including the shared lounge where available
  • Exclusive opportunity to co-exhibit on the European Commission stand at the trade shows (a fee might apply due to limited space).

Additional support for European businesses participating in extra-European events: 

  • Complimentary accommodation in China/US for two nights during the PET event
  • Free listing in event directory, free Mandarin translation provided for China events
  • Mandarin-translated business cards for the events taking place in China
  • Mandarin-English interpreters for meetings with Chinese buyers, as required
  • Discounted rates at the hosting hotel for extended stays, where available

What’s not included?

  • Flights and transfers
  • Meals, apart from event catering at the event and breakfast at the accommodation, where provided
  • Visa costs and application
  • Travel insurance

Are there other benefits of engaging with Partnerships in European Tourism?

Yes, there are many benefits in addition to the events. By registering your profile on this portal, you will be able to access the following:

  • Receive the latest updates on the China and US related activities
  • Download tutoring materials (see the Resources section)
  • Engage in new collaborations with the portal users
  • Create partnerships around trans-European tourist products and increase your competitive advantage

What is the format of the Partnerships in European Tourism events?

Unless otherwise specified, the events provide a half-day B2B matchmaking with 18 appointment slots and half-day conference on the target markets and event theme (please see individual event listings).

The events take place alongside a major, established trade show to which approved delegates have access; maximising the chances for further networking and business opportunities.