Week in Review: New Rules in Europe, Travel Advisor Training

Cruising in the Netherlands could look a bit different in the future. Among its many efforts to control soaring tourism numbers, the Amsterdam City Council wants cruise ships to stop operating from the city's downtown cruise terminal.

In a policy statement, the council said: “To curb overtourism, we are not distinguishing between organized group trips, cruise passengers visiting the city in droves and coaches or FlixBuses dropping off loads of visitors in our city center. By 2035, there will be much less of all of this.”

That all said, nothing will be changing right away. Cruises that call or turnaround at Amsterdam this summer are operating as planned.

“We are working with the authorities to accommodate the views expressed by council members while continuing to support the communities that benefit from cruise tourism,” Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) told Travel Agent. “Of the more than 21 million visitors that Amsterdam receives each year, around 1 percent arrive by cruise ship, with cruise tourism contributing around 105 million Euros to the city annually.”

While that may or may not happen, travel to Europe in 2024 will certainly change in one other regard: Travelers to the European Union from 60 visa-exempt countries—including the United States—will need a travel authorization to enter the bloc.

The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will allow travelers to enter any territory within the European Union/Schengen Area for short-term stays (usually 90 to 180 days, depending on the country). The ETIAS authorization will be linked to a traveler’s passport and will be valid for three years, or until the expiration of the passport, whichever comes first. The authorization will cost €7 and will generally take minutes to process.

Rome city view
Travelers from the U.S. will need a digital authorization to visit most European countries in 2024 and beyond. Seen here is Rome, Italy. (Vladislav Zolotov/Getty Images)

Although it’s a low cost, such fees very likely wouldn’t stop many people from traveling. (Although that’s not quite the point of the authorization.) But what you can take away from TravelBoom’s latest research is that despite concern about the U.S. economy from 77 percent of respondents to a survey, cost is now less important for leisure travelers. Of those same group, only 52.5 percent were concerned with their personal economic outlook. In addition, travelers are taking more and longer trips in 2023 when compared to 2022.

And, to help facilitate those travelers, the U.S. Travel Association is calling on the Senate to pass its version of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill. The House of Representatives last week passed the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act, which gives travel advisors a larger voice within the government and provides measures for improving the U.S.’s air travel system. A new bill must be finalized by September 30, when the current bill expires.

Said U.S. Travel President and CEO Geoff Freeman: “While the Senate may be eager to fly home to start their August recess, millions of Americans have missed trips and lost time with family and friends this summer due to delays and cancellations caused by years of government inattention. The whole of the U.S. economy pays a price when a trip is delayed—or avoided entirely due to air travel hassles.”

Travel Advisor Programs, Training and More

Scenic this week unveiled Groups+, a new group booking program designed exclusively for travel advisors. The Groups+ Travel Advisor Program offers advisors a complimentary hosted suite on select 2024 Scenic Eclipse and Scenic Eclipse II sailings, allowing them to accompany their group as they explore the globe onboard the World’s First Discovery Yachts.

Tip: For travel advisors looking for even more incentive to book group sailings with Scenic as well as with Emerald Cruises, the “Epic Summer Group Savings” promotion offers savings on group bookings on river and ocean sailings across both brands.

The Discover Dominica Authority is turning to travel advisors to help bring visitors to the island. Seen here is Roseau.

In the Caribbean, the Discover Dominica Authority has relaunched its online training program. The program gives travel partners an immersive view into the island, home to mountains, rainforests and rivers.

“The continued engagement of the travel professional community forms a key strategy for the destination, where their product knowledge is essential given the critical role they play in the travel industry,” said Kimberly King, destination marketing manager.

Also from the Caribbean, tour company Island Routes is meeting with travel advisors this month and next. Led by Island Routes CEO Ryan Terrier, Head of Global Sales David Black and Director of Sales Ron Veno, the roadshows will highlight the company’s all-new Private and Bespoke Collections, which offer advisors opportunities to fully customize and tailor their clients’ personalized itineraries or choose from carefully curated, tried and tested, guided experiences.

A Moment of Your Time

Travel Agent has launched the first iteration of its quarterly "Travel Trends & Advisor Insight Survey." We will use these quarterly surveys to learn more about the current state of the travel industry, as well as your business. Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey; following its conclusion, we will publish the findings here, so you will gain insight into the larger travel ecosystem and your colleague's businesses.

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