UNWTO leads the transformation towards a more sustainable tourism


The World Tourism Organization organized the Sustainable Destinations Summit in collaboration with the Mallorca Tourism Foundation.

The conference has shared the best practices of environmental, social and economic sustainability developed throughout the world by leading organizations and companies in these initiatives.

Catalina Cladera, president of the Consell de Mallorca, Isabel Oliver from the UNWTO General Secretariat and José Hila, mayor of Palma, opened the event, which was followed by more than 300 in-person and online attendees. The summit was closed by the Vice President of the Government of Spain and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño; and the president of the Balearic Islands, Francina Armengol

Cladera expressed his pride that Mallorca is “the world capital of sustainable tourism during the celebration of this international summit” and assured the attendees that “we want it to continue beyond this summit”. During her speech, the president highlighted the island’s potential as a benchmark for sustainability within the tourism sector. The president added that “Mallorca is a reference and quality destination throughout the world, throughout the year, with pioneering laws in waste management and tourism.

Representing the UNWTO, Isabel Oliver highlighted the importance of “promoting sustainable tourism that respects human rights” and highlighted the weight of Mallorca as a benchmark in terms of sustainability due to “its capacity for innovation, the professionalism of its businessmen and the management of their governments. . The mayor of Palma, who announced the recent approval of the city’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, highlighted the “need to commit to sustainability in order to improve the experiences of tourists and the quality of life of its residents, being a job shared between public administrations”. , the private sector and citizens”.

Calviño highlighted the importance of making public investments now, as well as the need to work collaboratively with the private sector to modernize a sector as important for Spain as tourism and continue to place the country in a leadership position. He also highlighted that Spain will be able to recover 80% of the 2019 international tourists this summer under the leadership of the Balearic Islands, which this Easter has already exceeded the 2019 figures in some segments.

President Armengol ended the closing ceremony by highlighting the importance of the new tourism law being processed by Parliament, focused on sustainability from the triple perspective of business competitiveness, environmental sustainability and care for workers.

International expert discussion
On the first day, the Minister of Transition, Tourism and Sport, Andreu Serra, opened the day with the presentation “Mallorca, leading the transition towards regenerative tourism”. This was followed by the first round table of the summit on institutional experiences in water management. Among the speakers were Miquel Mir, Minister for the Environment and Territory of the Balearic Islands, Jaume Mata, Responsible for Sustainable Tourism at Visit Valencia, and Asad Riza, Deputy Minister of Tourism for the Maldives Islands. Aniol Esteban, director of the Marilles Foundation, and Stefan Gössling, professor at the Linnaeus University School of Business and Economics, also participated. The moderator was the vice-dean of the Faculty of Tourism of the University of the Balearic Islands, Tolo Deyà.

Representatives from the private sector also spoke about solid waste management, such as Sandra Benbeniste, Director of Sustainability at EMEA -Iberostar Hotels, Miguel González San Román, Director of Business Development at Minsait/Indra, and Antonio Pérez, Mayor of Benidorm.

In addition, the experiences of civil society in the United States have been heard, with Nina Bellucci Butler, CEO of Stina, and Andy Schroeder, co-founder of an ocean plastic recovery project. The round table was moderated by Toni Munar from Turismoconsulting.

In the afternoon, the forum began with presentations on the circular economy, moderated by José María de Juan, from Koan Consulting. The panel included the opinions of Enrique Martínez, president of Segittur, Antoni Riera, director of the Impulsa Foundation, Jaume Ordinas, auditor of Hotels Garden, and Elif Balcı Fisunoğlu, deputy director of the Turkish Tourism Promotion and Development Agency.

The day ended with the data analysis block for decision-making in tourism sustainability initiatives. The debate was moderated by Dolores Ordóñez, General Director of AnySolution, and was attended by Dirk Glaesser, Director of the UNWTO Sustainable Development Programme, Luis Javier Gadea, Director of Tourism Research, Development and Innovation at Segittur, José Javier Ramasco , CSIC researcher at IFISC (CSIC-UIB), Sergio Guerreiro, Director of Knowledge Management and Innovation for Tourism in Portugal, and Carlos Cendra, partner at Mabrian Technologies.

The second day of the forum was attended by the Balearic Government’s Minister for the Economic, Tourism and Labor Model, Iago Negueruela, who participated with the paper “Social circularity and other axes of the Balearic tourism model”. A round table on Human Development was then held, with the participation of Catalina Alemany, head of CSR at Riu Hotels, Lola Herrero, professor and director of the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute, ESCP Europe, José Mañas, founder of Wireless DNA, Estelle Antognelli, Director of Tourism and Conventions, Tourism and Convention Authority of Monaco, Manuel Butler, Director of OTS in London and Juanma Martínez, Director of Green&Huma Sustainability Projects and Culture.

Finally, the island councilor for Transition, Tourism and Sports, Andreu Serra, the president of FEHM, María Frontera, Mark Tanzer, executive director of ABTA, Miguel Sanz, general director of Turespaña, and Norbert Fiebig, president of DRV, presented the conclusions . of the conference in a discussion moderated by Michael Collins, director of TravelMedia.ie.

Parallel to the second day of the summit, a hackathon was held at the Palacio de Congresos itself. The event was aimed at professionals, researchers and students with an interest and commitment to sustainability. They worked in groups on problems linked to three great challenges: water, food and mobility. Each challenge will have a winning group, which will receive €5,000, to be distributed equally among the members of each team.