Technology

Coronavirus: OTA and GDS lobby group calls for support from European Commission

Posted by Lee Hayhurst on
Coronavirus: OTA and GDS lobby group calls for support from European Commission

The group that lobbies on behalf of OTAs and travel technology firms in Europe has demanded support from the European Commission in line with help airlines and hotels are being offered.

In a statement eu travel tech (formerly the European Technology and Travel Service Association) said steps its members have taken to contain COVID-19 have seen air bookings plummet by up to 90%.

The group, which represents the major OTAs like Expedia and booking.com, metasearch sites, and Global Distribution Systems Amadeus, Travelport and Sabre says coronavirus “represents an exceptional challenge across our society and economy”.

Emmanuel Mounier, secretary general of eu travel tech, said: “Governments have rightly recognised that travel and tourism is being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our members support efforts to back airlines, hotels and other suppliers. However, it is of utmost importance that the European Commission and member states include exceptional measures to assist the whole industry.

“This means policies that support the entire travel ecosystem, including travel agents (online and offline), technology solutions providers such as global distribution systems, travel platforms for accommodation, metasearch and travel management companies.”

In a statement eu travel tech said it urges the European Commission and member states “to bring efficient and immediate support to those key players in the travel and tourism industry”.

It added: “It is key to ensure that any economic relief package prepared for travel suppliers also considers independent entities in the wider travel ecosystem that support a fully functioning travel marketplace.

“Unlike other industries and digital platforms which are able to carry on their business, the impact on eu travel tech members is likely to be tremendous.

“Due to the increasing travel restrictions and lock-down measures, travel and accommodation bookings are already significantly impacted.”

The association said its members are working hard to assist customers and partners in challenging times with customer support and repatriation advice and are playing a “crucial role in air and rail travel by processing schedule changes, cancellations and refunds”.

“Our members are providing information and adapting the way they do business with their suppliers, big and small, be it airlines, hotels, short-term rental hosts, restaurants, bus companies and tourist guides,” it added.

Figures from eu trave tech show the scale of flights, trains and hotel rooms that are booked through independent channels.

It claimed 50% of air travel globally and around 30% of rail travel in Europe is booked through third parties and said GDSs are integral to air travel for booking tickets and.

In addition the association said 81 million hotel nights in Europe would not happen without online travel agencies and 12% of the revenues of the independent hotel in Europe are generated by metasearch.

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