NECSTouR celebrated its Annual General Meeting 2021, hosted by the Tirol Region from 21 to 24 September in Alpbach.
39 official tourism organisations from across Europe met to agree the way ahead for a more responsible approach to tourism.
During the annual meeting – the first to be held in a hybrid format since the pandemic – members elected a new Executive Committee to strategically guide the work of the network over the next three years.
The presidency will be held by Manuel Alejandro Cardenete, Deputy Minister at the Regional Ministry of Tourism, Andalucia; and Mr Peter De Wilde, CEO of Visit Flanders.
They will jointly lead the Executive Committee, comprising newly elected members from the Balearic Islands, the Danish West Coast Partnership, Île-de-France, Galicia, South Limburg, VisitScotland and Västra Götaland as well as the founding members from Catalonia and Tuscany. The Balearic Islands is new to the NECSTouR Board and offers a wealth of innovation and insights that will support the strategic direction and delivery of the network.
In a new and exciting move, it was also agreed that the Tourism of Tomorrow Lab initiative will become a department of NECSTouR to support the increasing importance of digitalisation in sustainable recovery and the needs of members on this front.
Key priorities agreed for the next three years include the following flagship initiatives: a Climate Action Plan, to deliver activity that will support the reduction of emissions in tourism; and Better Places to Live and Visit, which focuses on the actions needed to deliver more responsible destination development – specifically, tourism that better balances the needs of visitors and communities.
The AGM was attended by senior tourism stakeholders from across Europe and its institutions. It hosted a productive dialogue with Simeona Manova from the cabinet of Commissioner Ferreira, as well an informative exchange with Silke Haarich from Spatial4Sight, who shared research on the economic impact of the pandemic on regional tourism in the EU commissioned by DG REGIO.
Outgoing President Patrick Torrent, Director of Catalonia Tourist Board, has led NECSTouR for the past 6 years. His experience, commitment and abilities have helped build the network’s status and influence as an important player in the European tourism arena. Patrick has seen the network through a number of challenges, not least the current pandemic, and his dedication has delivered many successes for NECSTouR. He said:
It has been my pleasure to lead NECSTouR and to see it go from strength to strength over the past 6 years. There is now a greater recognition of the importance of our regions and the vital role they play in sustainable tourism development. I am proud to say that I leave the network in good shape and in a strong position to meet the challenges – and, let’s not forget – opportunities of shaping more responsible and sustainable destinations. I would also like to thank NECSTouR’s membership and our dedicated Secretariat, whose hard work, collaboration and drive make our successes possible.
Incoming Presidents Manuel Alejandro Cardenete and Peter De Wilde said:
We have a shared ambition in NECSTouR: taking strategic action to boost the sustainability and competitiveness of our regions. In our mandate we will build on this commitment for the benefit of our members, our visitors, businesses and communities.
The General Assembly Meeting has been followed by NECSTouR’s Annual Thematic Conference on "Building a Better Recovery Towards the Tourism of Tomorrow: Public-Private-Citizens Partnerships".