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During the April event in Berlin, we heard from travel industry leaders across sectors. And after first speaking to them on stage, we took another few minutes with the executives to get more insight in our backstage Skift Take Studio.
Traveling through Europe is relatively simple, thanks to an agreement that allows tourists to enter more than two dozen countries without visas or border checkpoints.
That Schengen Area Agreement, as it’s called, has been good for the travel industry in Europe, said Jennifer Iduh, head of research and development for the European Travel Commission. But, she said, countries in the region need to also make it easier for travelers to visit if they’re coming from a great distance.
“Destinations need to embrace long-haul travel, not only focus on intra-regional travel but also travel from long-haul source markets,” she said.
Europe is no slouch in that department so far: Last year, international tourism arrivals jumped 8 percent to 671 million, the highest number in seven years.
In her behind-the-scenes conversation, Iduh also discussed the rise of low-cost carriers, the limits of big data, and the way that traveler desires are changing.
“We are facing a new type of consumer,” she said. “They are more experienced, they are more demanding, and they don’t want a general travel experience, they want a more personalized travel experience. So it may be a little bit of a dilemma if we try to satisfy these needs without finding ways of getting to know them better.”