In the breathtaking framework of the “Auditorio Jameos del Agua” in Lanzarote, NECSTouR Regional experience contributed into the debate over Sustainability and Tourism Competitiveness, organised by the Responsible Tourism Institute and with the support of the Government of the Canary Islands, both members of NECSTouR.
Mr Patrick Torrent – NECSTouR President, Region of Catalonia – moderated indeed a specific panel on that topic on the occasion of the event “Sustainability: A Key Factor of Competitiveness in Tourism Industry”. The event was organised in the framework of the International Year for Sustainable Tourism Developement and was supported/sponsored by the UNWTO, UNESCO and NECSTouR as well.
“Sustainability is the only possible strategy to ensure the competitiveness of our destinations.” On his introduction, Mr Torrent highlighted the NECSTouR’s 5 key-elements to ensure Smart tourism destinations:
Governance, as key-catalysator for any kind of tourism policy: taking into account the different local actors - public, private, civil society, citizens – in the decision-making process; establishing a participative governance; and developing public/private partnerships.
Education: there is no sustainability without entrepreneurial and professional skills and talent development in the tourism sector.
Indicators: we cannot manage what we cannot measure and the development of a proper set of indicators is fundamental in the decision-making process and for any further impact evaluation.
Market Intelligence: Tourism and Innovation should proceed in parallel though proper investments in research and innovation and the development of innovative tourism products/experiences on cooperation with SMEs and digital enterprises.
Sharing of benefits among tourists and citizens. To position our destinations through the quality of the service/experience instead of the price is the answer to an increasing “tourismophobia” in Europe: the valorisation of our European Cultural Heritage is the proper strategy to develop a more competitive and sustainable tourism in our destinations.
Some of the points highlighted by the NECSTouR President have been further developed during his intervention also by Mr Cristóbal de la Rosa, Vice-Minister on Tourism at the Government of the Canary Islands.
“From the perspective of the Government of Canary Islands – he said – sustainability is a key-element for our sector”.
Going through the main strengths and challenges for the Tourism in the Canary Islands of today, he underlined the value of culture for the future tourism development of the most European touristic region: “we are about to approve our new strategic plan for tourism which we are discussing with all the regional civil society and which is aimed to increase the cultural initiatives we are promoting in our regions.”
“We want to be – he concluded – the best place in the world to be lived and visited.”