The Palacio de Congresos de Palma hosted the Sustainable Destinations Summit organized by UNWTO in partnership with the Mallorca Tourism Foundation. The conference shared environmental, social and economic sustainability best practices developed around the world by leading organizations and companies in these initiatives.
Catalina Cladera, President of the Consell of Mallorca, Isabel Oliver from the UNWTO Secretary-General’s Office and José Hila, Mayor of Palma, opened the event which was attended by more than 300 participants in person and online. Closing the summit the summit was closed by Vice President of the Spanish Government 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 delegates that “we want this to continue beyond this summit”. During her speech, the President highlighted the potential of the island as a benchmark for sustainability in the tourism sector. The President added, “Majorca is a leading and quality destination worldwide, all year round, with pioneering laws in waste management and tourism”.
Representing UNWTO, Isabel Oliver stressed the importance of “promote sustainable tourism that respects human rights” and highlighted the weight of Mallorca as a benchmark in terms of durability for “its ability to innovate, the professionalism of its entrepreneurs and the management of its governments”. The Mayor of Palma, who announced the recent approval of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for the city, highlighted the “need to bet on sustainability to improve the experiences of tourists and the quality of life of its residents, being a work shared between public administrations, the private sector and citizens”.
Calviño stressed the importance of making public investments now, as well as the need to work together with the private sector to modernize a sector as important for Spain as the tourism sector and continue to place the country in a position of leadership. She further pointed out that Spain will be able to recover 80% of the international tourists of 2019 this summer under the leadership of the Balearic Islands, which at Easter have already exceeded the figures of 2019 in some segments.
President Armengol closed the closing ceremony by emphasizing the importance of the new law on tourism being drafted by Parliament, which focuses on sustainability from the triple perspective of business competitiveness, environmental sustainability and the protection of workers.
International expert discussion
On the first day, the Minister of Transition, Tourism and Sports, Andreu Serra, opened the conference with the presentation “Mallorca, leader in the transition to regenerative tourism”. This was followed by the first round table of the summit on institutional experiences in water management. Speakers included Miquel Mir, Minister of Environment and Territory of the Balearic Islands, Jaume Mata, Sustainable Tourism Manager for Visit Valencia, and Asad Riza, Deputy Minister of Tourism of 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.
Private sector representatives also discussed solid waste management, including Sandra Benbeniste, EMEA-Iberostar Hotels Sustainability Director, Miguel González San Roman, Minsait/Indra Business Development Director, and Antonio Pérez, Mayor of Benidorm.
In addition, the experiences of civil society in the United States were heard, with Nina Bellucci Butler, CEO of Stina, and Andy Schroeder, co-founder of an ocean plastics recovery project. The roundtable was moderated by Toni Munar from Turismoconsulting.
In the afternoon, the forum started with presentations on the circular economy, moderated by José María de Juan, from Koan Consulting. The panel included the views 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 Promotion and Development Agency of Turkey tourism.
The day ended with the data analysis block for decision-making in tourism sustainability initiatives. The debate was moderated by Dolores Ordóñez, Director General of AnySolution, and brought together Dirk Glaesser, Director of UNWTO’s 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 Tourism Innovation of Portugal, and Carlos Cendra, Partner at Mabrian Technologies.
The second day of the forum was attended by the Minister of Economic Model, Tourism and Labor of the Balearic Government, Iago Negueruela, who participated in the presentation “Social circularity and other axes of the Balearic tourism model”. This was followed by a round table on Human Development, with the participation of Catalina Alemany, CSR manager of 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, Direction of Tourism and Conventions of Monaco, Manuel Butler, Director of OTS in London and Juanma Martínez, Director of Projects and Culture of Sustainability at Green&Huma.
Finally, the island councilor for transition, tourism and sports, Andreu Serra, the president of the FEHM, María Frontera, Mark Tanzer, executive director of ABTA, Miguel Sanz, general manager of Turespaña, and Norbert Fiebig, president of DRV, presented the conclusions of the conference in a debate moderated by Michael Collins, director of TravelMedia.ie.
Alongside the second day of the summit, a hackathon was held at the same Palacio de Congresos. The event was aimed at professionals, researchers and students with an interest and commitment to sustainability. They worked in groups on issues related to three major issues: water, food and mobility. Each challenge will have a winning group, which will receive €5,000, to be divided equally among the members of each team.
About the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes tourism as a vector of equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. Together with its Member States, international organizations and the private sector, UNWTO promotes safe and seamless travel for all. UNWTO is also working to make tourism the foundation of international trust and cooperation and a central pillar of recovery. As part of the wider United Nations system, UNWTO is at the forefront of global efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including through its ability to create decent jobs, promote equality and preserve natural and cultural heritage.
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