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Destination Europe: 75 years of the European Travel Commission

by Nicky Gardner

Picture above: image © Scanrail / dreamstime.com


The European Travel Commission (ETC) has a special role is deepening the European brand by promoting the variety of Europe’s cultures and communities. This year ETC marks the 75th anniversary of its founding in 1948.

Many interesting things happened in 1898. In the world of European travel, two specific events are deserving of particular mention. The first was the birth of a chubby lad called Bibendum. He was the creation of a cartoonist at Michelin, and Bibendum’s image was to go on to grace some of the finest travel guides of Marketing Destination Europe — 75 years of the European Travel Commission — the 20th century. Read more on Bibendum in the snippet on the opposite page.

The other child of 1898 was the grandly titled Ligue Internationale des Associations Touristes (LIAT) which was founded in Luxembourg in August that year. Always on the hunt for obscure anniversaries, we cannot let Bibendum’s 125th birthday pass without remark. As to LIAT, it has been through a number of name changes and spawned a number of descendants of which the most significant is probably the European Travel Commission (ETC) which, having been founded in 1948, this year marks its 75th anniversary.

Imagine Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War. Hotels were in ruins, roads damaged, food and energy supplies were interrupted, yet there was a keen appreciation of the economic wins associated with attracting overseas tourists to Europe. ETC started as a loose alliance of sixteen countries which agreed to cooperate in promoting Europe as a destination for intercontinental travellers. Early campaigns focused on boosting the number of American visitors to Europe.

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