3rd Global Summit on City Tourism: Looking for New Paradigms

The ongoing urban and travel revolutions create a unique opportunity to make of city tourism a strong driver of smarter, more sustainable and inclusive cities.

3rd Global Summit on City Tourism: Looking for New Paradigms

The ongoing urban and travel revolutions create a unique opportunity to make of city tourism a strong driver of smarter, more sustainable and inclusive cities. According to the conclusions of the 3rd Global Summit on City Tourism held in Barcelona, Spain, on 9-10 December, the new paradigms for city tourism must address key issues: community engagement, better research and data to guide planning and management, public-private partnerships, the creation of clusters and the streamline of technology, innovation and sustainability.

Tourism has become a central component of the economy, social life and the geography of many cities in the world and is ideally positioned to contribute to seize the opportunities stemming from urbanization. The 3rd Global Summit on City Tourism: New Paradigms in City Tourism Development debated what takes to build new paradigms in city tourism. The Summit focused on four keys areas: the changing environment, knowledge and technology, measurement and how to make city tourism benefit the city and its surroundings.

Participants stressed the need to develop products which are market driven and research based, alerting to the lack of research to properly measure city tourism, its impact and trends. Furthermore, participants highlighted the need to make a city enjoyable to all: citizens, tourists and investors and spread the benefits of city tourism to its surrounding thus multiplying its impact and managing congestion.

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The development of clusters that engage public and private players from all sectors was pointed out as central to the new paradigm for city tourism development; a development that needs to be mindful of the fact that tourism is a policy instrument for social cohesion and cultural preservation, beyond its fundamental contribution as an economic activity. Participants also alerted to the need of discussing the new business models emerging within the so-called sharing economy and assess its integration into the planning and development of tourism.

Opening the event, UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, stressed the importance of engaging local populations in the whole process of city tourism development “We should always keep in mind that tourism happens in a community and that a city that is not good for its citizens will never be a good tourism destination. A city that is good for its citizens is good for tourists; a city that is loved by its citizens will be loved by its visitors”.

Ms. Isabel Borrego, Secretary of State for Tourism of Spain, said “City Tourism is a priority for Spain as it is capable of delivering on two of our key strategic objectives: overcoming seasonality and increase average spending”.

The 3rd Global Summit on City Tourism: New Paradigms in City Tourism Development was organized by UNWTO, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism of Spain and Turisme Barcelona, with the collaboration of the Government of Catalonia, the Barcelona City Council and the Barcelona Provincial Council.

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