National tourist offices
It is quite feasible to regard tourism as a kind of theatrical performance, directed by National Tourist Offices (NTOs) and played out on a stage called ‘destination’, but in a relationship between host and visitor which pays regard to human dignity, as it is not the role of the host to play the part of the ‘dancing bear’ for the benefit of tourists. Nevertheless, the question must be asked: will Europe still be attractive enough to be able to count on a faithful audience for its tourist performance in the 2lSt century? Will Europe have the courage and creativity to face up to its ever-more aggressive competitors throughout the world? What will be the role of the NTOs in this context? A millennium turning point is an invitation to every kind of prophecy and hypothesis. In the 19th century Europe invented tourism and in the first 70 years of the 20th century achieved world leadership in tourism. Since the 1970s it has more or less been on the defensive. The 2lSt century will effectively be the moment of truth for ‘Destination Europe’.