On the occasion of the NECSTouR Conference "Driving Sustainable Destinations Change Through Trans-Regional Cooperation", NECSTouR launched a call for action addressed to all the European Institutions, destinations and tourism stakeholders claiming for a joint effort to achieve a behavioral change towards European Sustainable Destinations.
The Conference has been organised on the 16 September 2019 with the support of the NAT Secretariat of the European Committee of the Regions and it offered to the 75 participants a selection of the most outstanding examples delivered by the NECSTouR Regions to drive a behavioral change in that territories and ultimately to achieve more sustainable destinations in Europe.
Call for Action. It has also been the occasion to call the European Commission, the European Committee of the Regions and other Regional authorities and Tourism stakeholders for an European coordination and support action towards a more innovative and sustainable European “Visitor Economy” policy, based on the 5 Principles of the Barcelona Declaration "Better Places to Live, Better Places to Visit" and the following requests:
1 A European Agenda for a Sustainable “Visitor Economy”;
2 Common Principles to build Europe a Better place to be;
3 A European Statistical Governance of the Visitor Economy;
4 Smart funding for Tourism;
5 A Pan-European dialogue to support destinations delivering the European agenda towards a sustainable Visitor economy
"If we have always promoted a sustainable tourism model, we are now calling for a broader behavioural change - stated Mr Patrick Torrent, President at NECSTouR and Executive Director at the Catalan Tourist Board - Indeed, Tourism should not be seen anymore as an individual and isolated activity but as an economic sector that is rooted to the territory where it takes place, affecting and affected by a range of sectors, policies, businesses and people: what we name the Visitor Economy. Therefore, we want to offer a new vision for Europe: the sustainable visitor economy starting in our Regions and Cities!"
"We firmly believe that Europe is fully competent to drive sustainable behavioural change in destinations - concluded Mr Manuel Alejandro Cardenete, Vice-President at NECSTouR and Deputy Minister of Tourism of Andalusia - and should support in coordinating efforts, dedicating appropriate resources which reply to the specific needs presented today and keeping this dialogue alive with all the players which can contribute to this change of mindset".
Support by the CoR. The conference has been attended by various members of the NAT Commission of the European Committee of the Regions and Mr Ossi Martikainen - Chair of the NAT Commission - and Mr Christof Kienel - Head of Unit for Tourism at the European Committee of the Regions, respectively opened and closed the event.
Thematic Panels. The event saw the participation of several high-level representatives from the whole tourism sector:
- A first panel launched the call and has been animated by Mr Ben Lynam, Head of Communications at The Travel Foundation; Ms Sara Pastor, Managing Director at ADARA; Ms Anya Niewierra, General Director at Visit Zuid Limburg; Mr Sergio Moreno, Deputy Minister of Tourism at the Canary Islands; Mr Thomas Mick, Manager at Ximalia.
- A second panel focused on how to achieve innovation and sustainability towards the European “Visitor Economy” policy has been animated by: Ms Ilona Lelonek-Husting, European Commission DG GROW; Ms Silvia Ferratini, European Commission DG ENV; Mr Eduardo Santander, Executive Director at the European Travel Commission and Chairman of the European Tourism Manifesto; Mr Tim Fairhurst, Secretary General at ETOA.
Policy Learning Workshop. On the following day, NECSTouR proposed a Policy Learning Workshop for its members, focused on practical insights to achieve a sustainable destination management and to address the challenges of the tourism of tomorrow.