petra-hedorferThe Chief Executive Officer of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) has been at the helm of the umbrella organisation of 33 national tourist boards since 11 June 2010. Even before then Petra Hedorfer had been active on the European stage as Vice President of this leading European association. The European Travel Commission will make its decision regarding Ms Hedorfer's successor as president at its upcoming AGM. The ETC was founded in 1948 with the aim of promoting Europe as a travel destination in overseas markets and it has its headquarters in Brussels.

During Petra Hedorfer's time as president, the ETC was restructured and a new Executive Director was appointed. In addition to its traditional activities in the USA and Canada, the European Travel Commission has in recent years begun to focus its marketing efforts increasingly on the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The visiteurope brand was launched China last year through the establishment of a China Chapter and the ETC extended the scope of its long-standing activities in Brazil. Petra Hedorfer was also successful in generating new funds and gaining approval for a €1 million budget from the European Commission. This budget from the European Commission is to be used in the coming 18 months for further ETC marketing activities aimed at strengthening Europe's position in the BRIC countries (in particular China and Brazil). The ETC signed a joint declaration with the European Commission in October 2011. Another milestone in the Hedorfer presidency was the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations World Tourism Organization in March 2012. Under its terms, the two organisations will join forces to set up global think tanks and will work in close collaboration on trend analysis, market research, benchmarking, sustainability and crisis management.

Petra Hedorfer: "It was a great honour for me to serve the ETC for more than two years as president. Because the two roles are particularly demanding of my time, I have decided to stand down as ETC President this year. I would like to thank my colleagues from the European member states for the trust that they have placed in me. To my successor I hand over the reins of an organisation with an outstanding team that is well placed for the huge challenges that we as Europeans will have to overcome in the face of competition from travel destinations in the Americas and Asia."

The national tourism boards represented by the ETC run the website, carry out joint market research, organise a host of events in the overseas markets and have put the training of travel industry employees in the respective source markets high on the agenda. The ETC sees its promotional work as complementary to the individual marketing activities of the national tourism boards in Europe. The German National Tourist Board is a long-standing member of the European Travel Commission and has permanent representation on its Board of Directors.