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Careers About
Services Projects 27 Insights 36 Podcasts 16 Careers About
ETC Handbook on COVID-19 Recovery Strategies
Research & Intelligence
European Travel Commission
The emergence of COVID-19 and its devastating impact on the tourism and travel sector required National Tourism Organisations to make drastic strategic and operational changes. In this handbook, we charted these changes, and gave recommendations on planning their transition towards fully embracing sustainability as their key mission.
The Challenge

During the most critical phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Travel Commission (ETC) played a key role to coordinate and harmonise the work of national tourism organisations. With new demands being placed on these organisations, it was important to learn lessons and give solid guidance on how to use the pandemic as an opportunity to embrace more sustainable models of tourism development across Europe. The ETC asked us to bring all of this together into an engaging, practical Handbook.

Objective 01

Identify and map measures taken by NTOs to respond to the pandemic

Objective 02

Understand NTOs different capabilities and mandates for addressing the challenges facing the hospitality sector

Objective 03

Gather first-hand insights from CEOs of European NTOs on their evolving role and agenda

Objective 04

Provide strategic recommendations for NTOs on short to medium term planning


Firstly, using primary research (a quantitative survey of ETC members) we examined the mitigation policies that European NTOs adopted to soften the impact of the pandemic on the local tourism sector and the ambitions and concerns they have for the future.

We also carried out interviews with the CEOs of four European NTOs (in the Czech Republic, Iceland, the Netherlands and Portugal) which were particularly revealing. These interviews gave contextual insights on the future role of NTOs, together with contemporary shifts in consumer behaviour as well as the post-COVID-19 opportunities that their organisations are addressing. Finally, we addressed the tricky question of the imperative for growth vs. the need to reduce the negative impacts of tourism, and set out a clear agenda to guide NTOs in planning their own recovery strategy in the coming years.

Key element 01

Design and analysis of survey of European NTOs

Key element 02

Interviews with CEOs of four national tourism boards

Key element 03

Mapping of national tourism policy responses across Europe to the pandemic

Key element 04

Development of recommendations around NTO recovery agenda, and transition towards adopting more sustainable tourism models.


In line with our project objectives and key elements, we reached these outcomes:


Analysed and interpreted NTOs’ changing role in the field of adopting sustainability strategies.


Mapped the issues which NTOs have direct control, or may influence policy formation.


Developed high-level guidance for NTOs on organising their operations across marketing and promotion, research, business support, partnerships and strategic development.

Jennifer Iduh
Head of Research, European Travel Commission
"We appreciate working with TOPOSOPHY as they are flexible in producing tailored made research. With them, the execution of projects runs smoothly and they have been helpful with our research in the field of sustainability producing two of our star projects, the Handbook on COVID-19 Recovery Strategies (2020) and the Handbook on Encouraging Sustainable Tourism Practices (2021). With the work of TOPOSOPHY, ETC has provided its member countries with support for the sustainable development of tourism."
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Strategy & Consulting
Edinburgh 2030 Tourism Strategy