The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) was present at FITUR, The International Tourism Fair, organized by Ifema, in Madrid, Spain, from January 24 to 28, 2024.
Estefanía del Azar, GSTC Communications Manager, spoke at Booking.com’s presentation of The Economist report “Destination Always”, in which Luigi Cabrini Chair of GSTC, participated in its workshop in 2022. The presentation started with the Destination Always Report insights by Matus Samel, Senior Research Manager at Economist Impact. The full report can be viewed here.
Mrs. Del Azar participated in the panel, that was part of the Destination Always presentation, Tourism for good: Getting the right policy mix – lessons learned and best practices, along with colleagues: Daniel Martínez, Vice-Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Community of Madrid; Armando Peres, Vice President of the OECD Tourism Committee; Ben Schroeter Director Public Affairs, Strategic Engagement at Booking.com and Miguel Galmes Schwarz, Sustainability Director of TUI Hotels.
The panel was moderated by Ana Abade, Public Affairs manager for Spain and Portugal at Booking.com
“Destinations have to know the pathway toward sustainability is a long journey… but they have to be in the path first to start; it can seem like a difficult and overwhelming journey at first especially if they lack expertise or resources, but they can start with baby steps. The GSTC Destination Criteria is the perfect guideline. The most important thing is to be on the journey, and have a measurable plan with goals and concrete timeframes,” said Estefanía del Azar.
The presentation ended with a speech from Mariano de Paco Serrano, Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Community of Madrid, highlighting tourism’s role as a force of positive change.
Mrs. del Azar also attended the Glasgow Declaration Event organized by UN Tourism. The event’s objective was to continue the discussion initiated at COP28 regarding climate action (plans, pathways and practice), based on the key takeaways of the Glasgow Declaration Implementation Report 2023.
All players in the tourism sector have a role to play in accelerating climate action, and therefore all tourism stakeholders (legal entities) can become signatories of the Glasgow Declaration. Destinations (national and local governments), businesses (accommodation providers, tour operators, suppliers, etc.) and supporting organizations (NGOs, business associations, academia, etc.) can become signatories of the Initiative. GSTC joined as a signatory and supporting organization of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism in November 2021.
Estefanía had the opportunity to meet and greet some of the GSTC Members who were present at the Spanish fair, such as the Tourism Department of Seychelles Ministry of Tourism, Azores DMO, Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA), Visit Valencia, Costa Rica, La Buena Huella, Sustainable Hospitality Alliance (SHA) among others.