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6 partnerships for carbon-neutral tourism in València

07/04/2021 València | 10.05.2021 | 08:30

València is firmly committed to sustainability as the core pillar of the city’s recovery following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to its Sustainable Tourism Strategy, the city aspires to be the first carbon-neutral tourist destination by 2025. And in the past year, it has taken a number of significant steps towards achieving that goal. 

 

Background

The capital on the River Turia was the first city in the world to calculate and certify the carbon footprint of its tourist activity. It then became a pioneer in installing smart labels to measure the impact of tourism in real time. This new digital system, which has already been installed at the Conference Centre and will be expanded to other venues, allows visitors to check the carbon footprint using the CarbonBot app and collects valuable data which will be utilized to design emissions reduction and offsetting plans in the future. 

València's sustainability strategy is also part of the Missions València 2030 municipal project, an innovation governance model based on interdisciplinary actions, or missions, which improve people’s lives and show the way towards a healthier, more sustainable, shared and enterprising city.

 

Moving forward on decarbonization

In order to continue making progress, València has joined several international organizations and movements in the past year, demonstrating its commitment to ensuring that the recovery in tourism incorporates sustainability. These are the six partnerships that will make this possible: 

  1. Clear criteria. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is an independent non-governmental organization which establishes criteria that define a sustainable tourist destination. Its members should aspire to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.

  1. Indicators to learn from other destinations. The Global Destination Sustainability Movement is a benchmarking and performance improvement programme in the area of tourism sustainability, incorporating more than 70 international destinations. The indicators evaluated include implementation of sustainable food programmes; sustainability certificates; resource reduction, reuse and recycling programmes; pollution reduction policies; and accessibility improvements. 

  1. Industry involvementFuture of Tourism is an international coalition which brings together such organizations as the GSTC, The Travel Foundation, Sustainable Travel International, Destination Stewardship Center, Tourism Cares and Green Destinations, which are joined by public and private enterprises in the tourism industry from throughout the world in a common aim: to establish a path towards a new, more sustainable tourism. Visit València is already partnering on drafting a climate action plan for tourist destinations, which will be presented at the upcoming COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. 

  1. Eliminating unnecessary plastic: Led by the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization), the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative unites the tourism industry in the fight against plastic pollution and the transformation into a circular economy for plastic, despite the higher use of such items to protect health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eliminating unnecessary packaging and increasing recycling and composting rates are some of the measures València has undertaken as a signatory, with the aim of protecting its landscapes and fauna. 

  1. Climate emergency declaration:Turismo Declara is a community of 235 organizations, businesses and professionals that have declared a state of climate emergency and joined together to seek solutions. Its projects include collaborating on three climate action guides to be published ahead of COP26. These will include examples of best practices and tools for bringing tourism in line with the goal of cutting global emissions in half by 2030. València is working with Visit Scotland on one of them, which explores the case of the city on the Turia as an international example of how to decarbonize tourism. 

  2. Circular economy: The One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme is committed to accelerating the shift towards sustainable consumption and production (SCP) to tackle the challenges of pollution, loss of biodiversity and climate change. Additionally, it supports the transition towards a circular economy as a pathway for the sustainable development of tourism. 

València not only partners with all these organizations but it also aspires to lead with the initiatives already implemented in the city and its commitment to becoming a 100% responsible tourist destination. 

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