ETIAS brings out a mixed bag of reactions from agents

recent security concerns with terrorism and the migrant crisis have called for a better management of who is entering EU borders

The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), a visa waiver pre-screening programme for visa-exempt visitors visiting the EU starting January 1, 2020, received mixed reaction from buyers who attended IT&CMA last week.

Some buyers are concerned that the additional security clearance and mandatory fee of €7 (US$7.70) required under the new ETIAS system, not unlike the US ESTA, will make Europe less appealing.

Recent security concerns have called for a better management of who is entering EU borders

Bobby Eng, director of sales and marketing at Sunflower Holidays Malaysia, said: “We foresee that it would be more difficult to promote the European countries in the Schengen Zone to MICE clients. We will absorb the seven euros cost for ETIAS instead of charging it to the client.”

Tee Yih Fung, chief strategy officer at Malaysian property developer Geleri Tropika, foresees that the additional fee of the ETIAS would affect the decision to organise incentives trips in Europe, and other destinations such as South Korea and Japan, which also has the advantage of being closer to home, would be considered as alternatives.

On the other hand, Gerardo Hernandez, director at Story Planner, an incentive travel house based in Mexico, believes the nominal cost for ETIAS is unlikely to affect business. He said: “A visa to China for Mexicans costs more about US$150 per person. Countries like France and Germany are popular as incentive destinations for Mexicans because of their heritage and culture.”

Mauro Lazzari, business development manager of H.T.M.S. International based in the Czech Republic, also said that the fee is not significant enough to influence planners’ decision to change destinations.

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