Spain unveils sustainable tourism plan


Spain’s tourism officials have unveiled a plan to develop a comprehensive strategy to improve the quality of the country’s tourism product by the year 2020 and to ensure that Spain stays competitive in today’s marketplace by developing business models that are environmentally, socially and culturally sustainable.

Called Tourism Plan Horizon 2020, Spain has devised the new tourism plan in hopes of fine-tuning the impact of tourism by extending the season and promoting lesser known areas of the country, as well as to develop tourism using sustainable resources and a skilled immigrant population, and to continue to be innovative in the industry that accounts for 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

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According to Spain’s tourism office in New York, Tourism Plan Horizon 2020 will unfold in three phases. Phase I will focus on analyzing Spain’s current tourist industry and future trends in travel. Seven areas were identified: sustainability; human resources and training; promotion and commercialization; statistics and market analysis; strategic marketing and tourism products; competitiveness, and innovation.

The second phase involves the creation of seven groups of experts that formulated concrete plans to achieve the goals in the aforementioned seven areas. Debate and discussion were an integral part of the process and feedback was solicited from travel industry professionals, representatives from Spain’s key institutions and the general public. A virtual “forum” was conducted via the Internet where members of the public shared their opinions and had a virtual “dialogue” with tourism officials and industry executives.

And the final phase will see the completion of the strategic plan that will serve as the basis of a five-year Spanish Tourism Plan 2008-2012 for Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce.

According to Spain’s tourism New York office, the country is on track for a record year in visitors expecting 60 million by the end of 2007. “For the first ten months of the year, the country saw 52.7 million arrivals, an almost two percent increase over the same period last year. To date, US arrivals are up to 978,567, an impressive 21.6 percent increase.”