The Main European Tourism Regions Set the Roadmap Towards the Sustainable Tourism of Tomorrow During the 10th NECSTouR General Assembly Meeting Held in the Canary Islands
NECSTouR – the Network of European Regions for a Sustainable and Competitive Tourism – celebrated its Annual General Meeting 2019 and Thematic Conference “Applying to Tourism Trends on Data, Talent and Resources Management”, hosted by the Canary Islands Government on the 11th and 12th of June, at the Hotel Escuela Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz de Tenerife).
The 36 Regions members of NECSTouR approved in their General Assembly Meeting an interregional cooperation strategy to deliver rapid solutions to the common destination challenges, such as the territory preservation, managing big data and stimulating talent as drivers for the sustainability and competitiveness of the territory.
Smart destinations, Socio-cultural balance, Skills and talent, Safety and security and Statistics – the so called “NECSTouR Five “S” of the Sustainable Tourism of Tomorrow” - are the five pillars of the NECSTouR interregional strategy 2019-2021, aiming to turn territorial challenges into opportunities by delivering effective regional tourism policies, resulting from the Network’s knowledge exchange and its participation to European projects.
Mr Patrick Torrent, Presidency of NECSTouR, highlighted: “We cannot neglect the importance of the regional role when it comes to make and implement sustainable tourism policies in Europe. These must respond to common challenges such as measuring the impacts of tourism for evidence-based decision making, attracting and committing talent to bring innovation to the sector and managing our destination’s resources in sustainable way. NECSTouR helps us to learn from each other and coordinates our efforts in our journey towards sustainability.”
With such mission, NECSTouR has been for twelve years the European platform addressing the sustainable and competitive regional governance of tourism, from the economic, environmental and socio-cultural perspective. NECSTouR counts today with 36 Regional authorities competent in tourism who team up with 30 organisations representing tourism academic and private sector stakeholders. Among NECSTouR regional tourism authorities, sixteen of them are included in the list of the “Top-20 most touristic regions in Europe1”.
According to the acting Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sports of the Canary Islands Government, Mr Isaac Castellano “the relevance of the NECSTouR strategy comes by the importance of the Regions who elaborated it, as they represent the 80% of the top-20 EU regions when it comes to overnights. Our strategy aims at establishing objectives oriented to improve the social wellbeing through tourism: an industry which attracts to Europe almost the 40% of the worldwide tourism”.
In the framework of NECSTouR General Assembly Meeting, the Canary Islands - the European leading tourism Region - hosted the Thematic Conference “Applying Tourism Trends on Data, Talent and Resources Management in European Islands and Regions”, held on the 11th of June: an event which gathered 150 destination management organisations and tourism businesses, experts and researchers.
The conference debate was nourished by high-level experts, representing leading organisations: ADARA, Travel Audience GmbH - An Amadeus Company, People 1st International, Travel Foundation, Travel Without Plastics, to mention some. The conference also counted with the contribution of the UNWTO.
The acting Vice-Minister of Tourism of the Canary Islands Government, Mr Cristobal de la Rosa, expressed the commitment of the Canary Islands in hosting the Conference: "As the tourism destination leader in Europe, the Canary Islands must play an active role in improving the competitiveness and the sustainability of our common tourism industry since, even if we have singularities that differentiate us, we face similar challenges".
Inspired by the key learnings of the two day-event, the NECSTouR Regions commit to join efforts to address the challenges related to climate change and resource efficiency, as well as to applying technology to the so called “visitor’s economy”, while connecting the NECSTouR priorities with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The event concluded by releasing for the first time the official video of NECSTouR’s initiative “The Barcelona Declaration: Better Places to Live, Better Places to Visit”, which advocates for five principles to better balance tourism, cultural heritage and residents in the European tourism destinations.
“These principles: Smart and inclusive governance; Adding value to the sense of place; Using a holistic vision for marketing and preservation; Balancing place, people and business; and Connecting people to people, are the essence of our strategy 2019-2021. Those will enable us to build strong policies to guarantee a sustainable and competitive tourism management across the European Regions”, stated Mr David Font, NECSTouR President, General Manager of the Catalan Tourism Board.
“Better Places to Live, Better Places to Visit” is the message that NECSTouR raises in a time of intense debate about the future of Europe, its policies and financial priorities as per the negotiation of the European Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, where the “visitors economy” requires a key position to secure the sustainable and competitive future of Europe.
1 “Tourism statistics at regional level”, Eurostat 2016, Available online on the 18-06-2019 https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Tourism_statistics_at_regional_level#Number_of_overnight_stays