Valencia safe, sustainable and healthy, the keys to reactivating meeting tourism
Today, the Valencia Conference Centre hosted a hybrid event —face-to-face and online— for Valencia’s tourism industry stakeholders. The event underlined the joint efforts of the public and private sectors to showcase the city as a safe, sustainable and healthy destination, and pointed to them as the keys to reactivating tourism in general, and MICE tourism, in particular. During the event, the Conference Centre was awarded the Sustainable Tourism Smart Label and AENOR certification for its carbon footprint.
The conference was opened by the Deputy Mayor of Valencia, Sandra Gómez, the Councillor for Tourism, Emiliano Garcia, and the Regional Secretary for Tourism, Francesc Colomer, and was also the scenario for the first Sustainable Tourism Smart Label to be awarded to a tourist organisation,
At the opening ceremony, the Deputy Mayor of Valencia, Sandra Gómez, thanked the efforts made by the tourism industry, as they have enabled us “to meet again, adapting to the new reality, in a hybrid event with strict safety measures.” She also highlighted “the strength, commitment and resilience of the tourism community in the city of Valencia.”
“Today we are showcasing the commitment of the public and private sectors, who are working together to ensure that tourism remains competitive. And we are well aware that to be competitive we have to guarantee a safe, healthy and sustainable environment both for visitors and for the industry itself,” said the Deputy Mayor.
“Public and private partnerships help us to move forward as a city, addressing the climate change challenges that lie ahead of us. Thanks to these joint efforts, we have become the first city to certify the carbon footprint of our tourism operations, an initiative that the Conference Centre has also taken part in. We have also launched a pilot project for smart devices to provide real-time information on the health, safety and sustainability of our events. Technology applied to tourism puts us at the forefront of transparency and tourism management,” concluded Gómez.
After the presentation of both awards, a round table of experts with extensive experience in the organisation of events linked to the city of Valencia was held. The personalities participating in the debate included Jose Mª Bonmatí, the Director of AECOC; Rafael Espartero García, Secretary of the UGT Confederal Organisation; Corinna Heilmann, the representative of World Design Capital Valencia 2022; and Paco Borao, from the Sociedad Deportiva Correcaminos/Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Marathon EDP, who together analysed the trends and challenges faced by companies and cities in the organisation of events. The round table was moderated by Eric Mottard, CEO of Grupo Eventoplus.
Carbon neutral destination
After Valencia became the first city in the world to calculate and certify the carbon footprint of its tourist activities, the second phase of the project promoted by Visit Valencia and Global Omnium to transform the city into a carbon neutral destination is already underway. Thus, during the month of February, the carbon footprint of the Conference Centre was calculated and verified by AENOR, making it the first tourist facility to undergo this type of assessment.
Emiliano García, the Valencia City Councillor for Tourism and Chairman of the Conference Centre, expressed his satisfaction and stated that “Valencia will only be a carbon neutral destination if tourism-related companies and organisations are also involved in the project. We have an exciting challenge ahead of us to be able to promote this transformation and project the global image of a sustainable, safe and healthy destination”.
“The sustainability of the tourism industry and progress in terms of SDGs are essential for the recovery of tourism in Valencia to be a driving force for the development of Valencian society and our economic model,” said the councillor.
In addition, together with the AENOR certification, the Sustainable Tourism Smart Label was presented. This aims to be the first of a network of smart devices located in tourist venues which provide real-time data on the health, safety and sustainability of each facility. Data is collected with such detail that the impact of every activity, event and congress hosted by a venue can be measured.
These smart labels have a built-in chip that collects the information and transmits it to the general public via a mobile application. Thanks to this technology, developed by Global Omnium and Vestigia, the efforts made by tourism companies in terms of sustainability and mitigating climate change can be truthfully communicated, the data can be certified and plans can be designed to reduce and offset their carbon footprint.