· Turisme de Barcelona: A business making headway on sustainble

· Turisme de Barcelona: A business making headway on sustainble

Summary:Barcelona is a Spanish city, capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia and the second largest city in the country, with a population of 1,620,900. Now, Barcelona is recognized as a sustainable tourism destination committed to developing responsible tourism and including sustainable economic, socio-cultural and environmental criteria. Turisme de Barcelona promotes the city as a cultural, gastronomic and shopping destination based on the attractions that make it unique. Furthermore, Turisme de Barcelona pays attention and calculates the carbon footprint of its activities. For instance, Barcelona uses 100% recycled paper to produce its tourist brochures and leaflets.

Introduction
Barcelona Sustainable Tourism brings together the initiatives of Turisme de Barcelona related to Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability with the aim of assessing and reducing the environmental impact of business and the city, and to put itself forward as a more sustainable enterprise.

In 2011, Turisme de Barcelona focused on the following areas in particular:

• It promoted, together with Barcelona City Council, the Biosphere World Class Destination certification awarded to Barcelona:
» Barcelona is the first city in the world to be awarded Biosphere certification.
» The certification is awarded by the Institute of Responsible Tourism (ITR), an organization supported by Unesco and the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), and member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).
» The award recognizes the city as a sustainable tourism destination committed to developing responsible tourism and including sustainable economic, socio-cultural and environmental criteria.

• It became a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC):
» The GSTC is the only body that is officially authorised to award sustainable tourism certifications worldwide.
» The GSTC is supported by the United Nations Foundation.

• It joined Barcelona Agenda 21:
» Agenda 21 is a work plan that aims to direct government policy and management towards sustainable development.

Sustainable Management
The Turisme de Barcelona consortium is responsible for promoting the Catalan capital as a tourist destination. It was set up in 1993 with the participation of local government and the business sector in an equal management model.

• Work in association with the city’s business network. Turisme de Barcelona has over 700 associate members. They are businesses from the tourism sector and most of them have expressed a desire to move forward by making improvements to sustainability issues.

• Turisme de Barcelona was commissioned by Barcelona City Council to draw up the 2015 City Tourism Strategic Plan.

Cultural Aspects
Turisme de Barcelona promotes the city as a cultural, gastronomic and shopping destination based on the attractions that make it unique. Turisme de Barcelona’s programmes are:

• Barcelona Gastronomy includes Barceloneta Cuina, a group that brings together restaurants and members of the fishing community from the seafront district of Barceloneta and promotes the use of fresh and locally sourced produce.

• The Barcelona Shopping Line includes the Top 10 window displays in Barcelona.

• Barcelona Culture promotes traditions, festivals, museums, etc. in its cultural agenda In Bcn .

• Turisme de Barcelona has contributed to preserving the city’s cultural heritage by refurbishing and improving access to the Columbus Monument:
»»The Columbus Monument is the first Catalan landmark to have a geothermal heating and cooling system, meaning that it can harness the heat from the ground to generate heat as well as to cool down the monument.
»» It has built a second entrance improving services for visitors with mobility problems.

Socio-Economic Aspect
Accessibility
• The Turisme de Barcelona website, www.barcelonaturisme.cat has been awarded the AAA Website Accessibility Certification which assesses the accessibility of websites.

• Turisme de Barcelona has launched the website www.barcelona-access.cat, for disabled people.

• Turisme de Barcelona has published the brochure Easy Barcelona which is aimed at people with disabilities. It is available in English and in Braille.

Barcelona Opportunity Week (BCNOW)
Turisme de Barcelona will be organising the second BCNOW from 27th January to 5th February 2012. The initiative offers major discounts at the city’s hotels, restaurants and cultural attractions. BCNOW achieves several objectives:
• The main beneficiaries are the local community, although the event is also aimed at tourists. It reconciles tourism and the local community.

• Deseasonalisation: the initiative promotes the city’s establishments at a time when visitor numbers are small. It also triggers a financial upturn in the city’s social fabric.

• Donation of proceeds to charitable projects: Intermón, Obra Social de Sant Joan de Déu and the Banc d’Aliments (2011).

Barometer about the perception of tourism by Barcelona residents and tourists
• Satisfaction surveys are carried out to monitor the local population’s perception of tourist activity in the city, as well as the experience of tourists in Barcelona.

Environmental Aspect
Turisme de Barcelona calculates the carbon footprint of its activities (483 promotional events every year, 21 tourist information points and 125 members of staff ).

In 2007, the Breakfast with Turisme de Barcelona initiative hosted a workshop for the city’s tourism sector devoted to tourism and climate change.

Turisme de Barcelona’s Barcelona Convention Bureau (BCB), in association with Barcelona City Council, collaborated on the publications More Sustainable Hotels and More Sustainable Congresses geared to making the city’s hotels and congresses more environmentally friendly.

Turisme de Barcelona disseminates the environmental certifications of the city’s tourism offering.

Turisme de Barcelona includes the Barcelona Sustainable Tourism logo on city tours that use sustainable means of transport.

Turisme de Barcelona uses 100% recycled paper to produce its tourist brochures and leaflets and is gradually introducing FSC certification to its promotional material on paper.