Live from Brussels – Issue 109

Dear readers,

Welcome to our ‘Live from Brussels’ newsletter. As we publish this new issue, our team is looking at the outcome of the 84th HOTREC General Assembly, which took place in Prague in late April. The event has been the perfect opportunity to exchange views with our members and guests on the direction European hospitality is taking amidst the slow recovery and the dramatic geopolitical situation.

A moving speech from our colleagues of the Ukrainian Hotel and Resort Association (UHRA), joining us online from Kyiv, highlighted the unthinkable struggles hoteliers in the country are experiencing and described a severe refugee crisis. I am proud of having UHRA among our members and applaud the HOTREC family and the entire hospitality sector for their essential role in welcoming the Ukrainian people fleeing the war zone.

Overall, we are concerned by the combined impact of pandemic-related issues and the recent increase in inflation rates and energy and food prices and keep asking for continued support and access to EU funding. In this context, I believe that the recent decision by the Irish government to extend the 9% reduced VAT rates for tourism and hospitality is precisely the kind of measure that the industry needs to help companies get back on their feet.

Despite remaining cautious, what emerged from the event is also a sentiment of optimism. European countries all over Europe are lifting travel and quarantine restrictions – an initiative which, just this week, we warmly welcomed together with our colleagues from the European Tourism Manifesto alliance – while still warning the EU on the need to revise the Council Recommendations on travel. We hope for the reestablishment of international travel if the epidemiological situation allows it.

In this issue, we had a chance to discuss the recovery and the impact of the Ukrainian war on the European tourism ecosystem with Mr Eduardo Santander, Executive Director of the European Travel Commission (ETC), whom I want to thank for his precious contribution.

Our General Assembly also gave us an opportunity to celebrate a crucial achievement as last March EU legislators reached a landmark agreement that will lead to the final adoption of the Digital Markets Act (DMA). We believe that the DMA text will ensure that hoteliers are treated more fairly by online travel agents and tackle behaviour that undermines the sector’s digitalisation. Our Members also provided us with valuable and constructive insights to build a level playing field and support future rules on short-term rentals at European and local level.

To conclude, it is a pleasure for me to announce that, come June 1st, the Turkish Restaurant & Entertainment Association (TURIYD) will join HOTREC as a new associate member. We are looking forward to welcoming you and working together to make European hospitality thrive!

Enjoy your reading! 





Live from the network

Social Affairs




Interview with Eduardo Santander, Executive Director of the European Travel Commission

Eduardo Santander is the Executive Director of the European Travel Commission, an association of NTOs created in 1948 to promote Europe as a tourism destination. In this role, Mr Santander steers ETC’s activities aimed at building the value of tourism for the countries of Europe through cooperation in sharing best practices, market intelligence and promotion. Mr Santander has over 15 years of experience in tourism-marketing, brand-development, business-consulting, advocacy and public affairs. He is a passionate advocate of freedom to travel, smart connectivity and sustainability in tourism and beyond.


European Commission unveils updated Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER)

On 10 May, the European Commission published the new Vertical Block Exemption Regulation ('VBER') accompanied by the new Vertical Guidelines. The Commission has also published an explanatory note. The revised VBER and Vertical Guidelines will enter into force on 1 June 2022.


EU Institutions reach political agreements on Digital Markets and Services Acts

EU lawmakers reached a landmark agreement on Friday 25 March 2022 which will lead to the definitive adoption of the Digital Markets Act (DMA). HOTREC applauded the EU for setting new rules targeting digital gatekeepers which exercise disproportionate power towards their business users and consumers.

Confirmation of online bookings: European Court of Justice clarifies what the consumer needs to know

When can a booking be considered as finalised when buying online? The European Court of Justice delivered an important judgement on the validity of contracts by electronic means on 7 April to clarify this issue.

Live from the network

Hotel 4.0 Summit in Portugal: accelerating the digitalization of the sector to remain competitive and overcoming Covid-19 uncertainty

On 11 May 2022, Ms Marie Audren, HOTREC Director General, joined the Hotel 4.0 Portugal Summit: a conference organized by the Association of hotels, restaurants and similar establishments in Portugal (AHRESP).

Social Affairs

Pay Transparency: a compromise protecting SMEs and collective bargaining is needed

On 5 April 2022, the European Parliament plenary approved the mandate of the EMPL and FEMM committees of the European Parliament to negotiate with the Council on the proposal for a Directive on Pay Transparency.


European Court of Justice: EU law does not prevent municipalities from requesting fiscal data from platforms

On 27 April, the European Court of Justice rejected a case brought by Airbnb Ireland against Belgian regional legislation requiring it to provide information to tax authorities on tourist transactions.


Czech presidency of the Council of the EU: expectations and asks

At HOTREC 84th General Assembly in Prague, Czech Vice Minister for Regional Development, Mr Ondrej Profant, presented his country’s priorities for the EU Presidency relevant to hospitality.

Digitalization of the visa application system most welcome

On 27 April 2022, the European Commission issued its proposal for the digitalisation of the Schengen visa process.

EU travel and tourism stakeholders call for international travel boost

HOTREC and the European Tourism Manifesto alliance support the extension of the EU Covid digital certificate for one year period (until July 2022).

Package travel: to be or not to be?

Becoming a package organiser or not: that is the question that comes to mind of hoteliers nowadays. While the paramount objective of the Package Travel Directive (PTD) was to enhance travellers’ protection, it created hurdles for hotels and impacted travellers’ experience. It’s now up for revision.

Download the pdf


08 Nov
All Day
Next meeting of the PTD expert group on 8/11: agenda available:
Informal meeting with Airlines4Europe - Possible impact of Fit for 55 on airline pricing and travel
09:45 - 11:15
Main outcome of the meeting available (summary + PowerPoint from Airlines4Europe)
14 Nov
14/11/2022 - 16/11/2022    
On 14-16 November 2022, the Czech presidency of the EU Council will organise the European Tourism Forum.
Webinar on Practical solutions to food waste monitoring in hospitality
10:30 - 11:30
Webinar - 17 November, 10.30-11.30 CET
Preparatory meeting SSD plenary + Update on Social Affairs
10:00 - 11:30
On 21 November 2022, HOTREC will organise its Sectoral Social Dialogue preparatory meeting + update on Social Affairs (policy and legislative files). The meeting will [...]
22 Nov
11:30 - 14:00
HOTREC has shared consolidated comments on ISO Restaurant Vocabulary Project (WD16520) now accessible and will attend the 22 November meeting. 
24 Nov
11:00 - 12:30
Updated slides, minutes and other material/documents are available online.
24 Nov
15:00 - 16:30
Presentation and documents are uploaded
Sectoral Social Dialogue Plenary meeting
10:00 - 16:00
PowerPoint presentations available
28 Nov
15:00 - 17:00
Stanhope Hotel Brussels by Thon Hotels List of Participants Draft Agenda for ExCom meeting on 28 November 2022 PLEASE NOTE THAT FROM 16:30, THE PRESIDENT-ELECT, [...]
European Hospitality Day - Event at European Parliament
08:30 - 14:30
HOTREC is organising meetings and exchanges for HOTREC members at the European Parliament on Tuesday 29 November 2022 in Brussels.
Events on 14/11/2022
14 Nov
Events on 22/11/2022
Events on 24/11/2022
Events on 25/11/2022
Events on 28/11/2022
28 Nov