Foto: © Barcelona TurismBarcelona – this week our social impact Startup Authenticitys was invited to join the sustainable tourism conference "Jornadas de Turisme Sostenible" in Barcelona. On Wednesday, 19th and Thursday, 20th of December, Barcelona Turisme organized a conference around the topic of sustainability, including different panels, speeches and discussions. The “Jornadas de Turisme Sostenible” is a congress that opens its doors to experts, entrepreneurs and interested people in the field to reflect together on different visions of sustainable tourism and to create a change to leave a positive impact in the cities we travel. On the first day, the sustainable tourism guru Doug Lansky talked about “Saving Tourism from Itself”. As Barcelona is the leading city in adressing the issues of overtourism and sustainablity, in his speech he clarified the different stages of overtourism and the misinterpretation of managing this certain problem. "Overtourism is unbalanced tourism", he says. That means, that the problem is not the travelling masses that come into a city. The problem is rather the unbalanced tourism that a city has failled to manage. Thus, an effective solution of this issue would be the systematic spreading of tourists and the balancing of the offer in a city. Doug Lansky is a travel writer and is engaged in various fields to contributing to a sustainable tourism industry, especially in creating awareness about the ongoing issue of overtourism that many cities are struggeling with and to find effective solutions. He brings along a lot of experience in the tourism industry through his collaboration with big companies such as Google Travel, Amadeus or the National Geographic. Moreover, he is not only the author of 10 books, including 2 for Lonley Planet and 3 for Rough Guides, he is also a well-known speaker at the National Geographic Headquarters and the United Nations World’s Tourism Organization. In addition to Lanskys speech, other local experts like Mercedes Mora (director of Casa Vicens), Matteo Asensio (International Promotion Manager of Turisme de Barcelona), Julian Montero Ortega (Director of Business Development at Barcelona Zero Limits), Santiago Hernández Zayas (Director of Hotel Princess and Promotor of Barcelona Forum District) and Jordi Sala Serra (Human Resources Director at Hotel Arts Barcelona) joined a round table conference to discuss the different pillars of sustainability and the challenges and different opportunities that tourism means for different destinations. The first day of the Sustainable Tourism Conference in Barcelona provided already an extensive and productive program about the main steps to address in order to contribute to a sustainable tourism industry. Day 2 of the congress – on December the 20th – was dedicated to the 7th edition of “Business with Social Vale” (BWSV), at the “Palacio de Congresos de Catalunya”. The event aims to contribute to a social transformation of business companies, by promoting social and sustainable conducts, favouring the sustainable economy of the Centro especiales de empleo (Special Employment Center) and the Empresas de Inserción (Social Integration Enterprises). Experts on different fields like Pedro Olivares Carreño (OLIVARES Consulting), Maite Piera Torres (Human Capital Consulting Deloitte) and like the day before, Doug Lansky discussed about sustainability and about how to include the social factor in today’s business. Another main objective of the BWSV event was to create real business opportunities for the Special Employment Centers and the Social Integration Enterprises. With the face-to-face activities participants were able to get to now all the services of the Special Employment Centers and communicate directly with different companies and experts.
Foto: © WTMWe are almost at the end of 2018. Now is the moment we can look back to a year full of significant events, conferences and changes that contribute to creating a sustainable tourism industry. In this sense, each year the WTM World Responsible Tourism Awards are presented at the WTM London, the biggest responsible tourism conference worldwide. One Overall Winner, Eight Golds and Six Silvers have been awarded in this year’s World Responsible Tourism Awards, presented on November 7th. The awards are not only the intent to inspire others to stimulate new initiatives and innovations of the industry but also to showcase and distinguish great examples of the Responsible Tourism industry. The World Responsible Tourism Awards 2018 recognized the city of Barcelona as the overall winner. By avoiding negative and divisive language in discussing the impact of tourism in this city and by actively addressing severe problems like overtourism, Barcelona managed to be acknowledged as an outstanding example in the tourism industry. What can be achieved to contribute to sustainable tourism? How can others be challenged to do as well or better? Barcelona got the 2018 overall winner award, due to the range of management methods that the city has used to do so in order to achieve a sustainable tourism industry. Thus, it is seen with a potential to educate and challenge other destinations to respond to certain issues, to do more and eventually to increase the positive economic, social and environmental impacts. “It is a significant achievement, it marks you out as a leader in Responsible Tourism; and it carries a responsibility to exercise leadership.” Also, Michael Palin shared his vision on why the Responsible Tourism Awards are so important to this industry: “Getting to know more about each other remains one of the most important hopes for the peaceful future of the planet. If we are really to understand each other better, then we need to be reminded to travel carefully and thoughtfully, listening to people along the way and respecting the world we are privileged to travel through. The Responsible Tourism Awards are one of the most important ways in which we can understand how to travel better. “ Authenticitys, as a significant social impact startup was shortlisted in the WTM Responsible Tourism Speed Networking Buyers 2016 at the World Responsible Tourism Day for ‘responsible travelling’. Based in Barcelona, Authenticitys can proudly be part of the city that was awarded as the overall winner in the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2018.
Foto: © Ayuntament de BCNWithout doubt, the tourism industry needs to share crucial information and expertise about solutions and the positive outcomes of sustainable tourism in order to increase the management intervention that contributes to addressing the problems that the tourism industry is facing. Entrepreneurs, experts but also all interested people need to gather regularly to exchange different missions and visions – and thus, to create a common bond for Sustainable Tourism. The past year contributed to a great extent to that work, and we are more than excited to follow the positive outcomes and new initiatives in 2019.
Foto: © UNWTOWho does not dream about travelling? Isn’t travelling, no matter who we are and where we come from, part of our lifestyle and pleasure of living? The vast treasures of travelling lie within the opportunity of broadening your horizon and breaking the barriers between different cultures and nations. Everyone who is given the opportunity should be aware of the significance that travelling brings with it and thus, make the best of it. “Bon voyage!” or “Have a safe trip”? Travel-book writer Rick Steves describes in his new book “Travel as a Political Act” the rising fear of travelling and common prejudices of particular destinations. These lingering prejudices and the avoiding of specific areas of the world is also a consequence due to terrorist attacks in the past years that have put into question the safety of a traveller’s journey and destination. Indeed, a crucial turning point of “carefree” travelling was after the terrorist attacks of September 11th of 2001 in New York. What is more, the recently quite frequent incidents in big European touristic cities like London, Paris or Barcelona, have frightened people to travel around popular destinations. What comes next? Is it a risk to travel to this city? More and more, travellers have to confront questions like these. You never know - and that is the most dangerous part. It might sound like a paradox but in this changing “atmosphere”, including the nationalist movements (like Brexit, for example), travelling has become even more important to see the world and try to understand it better. Only by experiencing real life and by being open to the unknown, you are able to comprehend the other. Why is travelling so important? At first, as the author Steves says, “you learn a lot about your country by leaving it and looking at it at a distance.” So, considered from an ethnocentric point of view, travelling helps to get to know your own roots. This is because while travelling you recognise the differences to your own culture and compare it. It is in our nature to compare ourselves with the unknown because it is what actually identifies us. In this sense, travelling contributes to not only define our own ethnocentricity but eventually to undermine it and open our personal horizon. Thus, leaving our comfort zone and getting to know the unknown might give us the possibility to discover cultural diversity in this world and learn from the other’s perspective. Besides, it is the chance to get to know and accept the legitimacy of different moralities. “You don't have to like their answer, but at least try to understand it”, clarifies Rick Steves in his book. And of course, this attitude towards the country and the culture we are visiting shapes the world and our future. A cautious approach to the unfamiliar culture does not help the world to develop and transform better the tourism industry – contrariwise – it stops this progress and hinders us to see the truth through our own eyes. One thing is for sure – we all need to be less wary of venturing out into the world and try to use our possibilities to discover the cultural and natural richness of this beautiful planet. Not till then, we are able to actually cause a difference.
Foto: © Fira BarcelonaBarcelona – The biggest global event for the meetings and events industry, IBTM World 2018, took place from the 27th to the 29th of November 2018 and brought together nations from all over the world to promote their cultural richness, diversity, and variety of income-opportunities. Taking place annually in Barcelona, the event aims to inspire the events world to deliver exceptional experiences for their customers. What normally takes a lot of time, planning and organization are possible in three days at one location: building face to face connections with the right people of different countries and companies; and of course, engaging in limitless networking opportunities. Although the IBTM World circulates mainly on its central theme - the event meeting industry – another goal is to be able to demonstrate to other industries that the event industry does take sustainability seriously, what impact it has on the environment and how introducing sustainable meeting practices can make a positive difference. This was a decisive factor for our social impact Startup Authenticitys to get to know the branches on the social impact of the different countries in the world, to create connections with the responsible persons, and to exchange different views and visions for sustainable tourism. Thus, the IBTM 2018 did not only provide different talks and conferences that played an important role in getting this message out so that anyone can take part and start making positive changes in tourism. It was also a crucial event for Authenticitys to broaden its horizon and to get in touch with organisations, companies and different cultures that share similar visions of transforming the tourism industry. Some of these official items about sustainability in the events and tourism industry where: Day 1: “What do the UN Sustainable Development Goals mean for the future for the event industry?” The speaker Miguel Naranjo, programme officer of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany and Fiona Pelham, CEO of Positive Impact Events talked about taking action to address future trends and client demands related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and how these actions can create new opportunities for the event industry. Day 2: Guy Bigwood, group sustainability director of the MCI Group and Sam McNeill, general manager (UK/Europe) of SongDivision about the topic “Shine Bright Like a Diamond: How to add value, authenticity and fun to your next event through sustainability”. Day3: Talk about “Developing a global sustainability strategy” by Emma Owens, partnerships manager, Positive Impact & Sustainable Events Ltd Generally speaking, the importance of sustainability in events and the tourism industry is growing more and more and spreading to the world. Thus - not without reason an important part of the biggest global tourism event, the IBTM World.
Foto: © Positive ImpactIn this sense, the IBTM World comprises a vision for a sustainable event in 2020 that aims to demonstrate other industries and governments the relevance of the topic. It is an intent to discover how this can change the events and tourism industry and a start of making impact changes, introduced by the Positive Impact team. They provide content and presentations at the Sustainable Events Corner at IBTM and present internationally at events such as The Global Sustainable Events Summit on the practical and strategic implementation of sustainability. A sustainable event industry for 2020 may sound idealistic, however not far away from what more and more industries are looking for. … Might be a crucial reason for looking forward to IBTM World 2019?
Foto: © Positive Impact
Barcelona – Another year the SmartCity Expo World Congress (SCEWC) opened its doors to the public and provided powerful debates on topics that went deep into the key issue for the future of our cities. The congress started its first day on the 13th of November and ended with the 15th – three days full of inspiring activities, networking, meetings and much more.
The initiative of the Smart City Expo World Congress provides a unique meeting in order to share and exchange visions and ideas for urban innovation worldwide. The goal of promoting social innovation for cities and identifying the opportunities that come along with it is to create a better future for the cities we live in and thus, to increase the living quality of the citizens.The format for 2018 focused mainly on 5 main topics, generating discussions and dialogue roundtables between leading thinkers, entrepreneurs, and experts: Digital Transformation, Urban Environment, Mobility, Inclusive & Sharing cities, and Governance & Finance.
Foto © Fira Barcelona
Based on the values of social inclusion and empowerment these focus topics should contribute to creating awareness and to further critical reflection between the citizens of the different cities worldwide in order to establish a caring society.Thus, creating sustainable cities is a top priority for the SCEWC. In this sense, the initiative of "Towards Zero Waste" that aims to reduce waste and increase the efficient use of our resources is becoming more and more important. However, not only the questions of how to establish sustainable cities but also how to promote a social impact that citizens and tourists can leave was running like a common thread through the Congress, stimulating speakers and participants to reflect on the most critical issues facing cities today.
Foto © Fira BarcelonaSocial Impact Startup Authenticitys participated in the SmartCity Expo World Congress 2016, introducing to the public its main goal of providing social impact experiences to tourists, in order to transform the way of travelling and to leave a positive impact in the cities. Authenticitys has always seen the relevance of conferences like SmartCities. Especially nowadays, it has become an important happening, as the content is heading more and more towards sustainability, rather than only technological processes and innovations. In this sense, social entrepreneur and Nobel Prize laureate, Muhammed Yunus contributed to this year’s highlights as a speaker about “A world of three zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero Net Carbon Emissions”. In his speech, he offered his vision of an emerging new economic system and the change that will come through the action of the people and the emergence of new social businesses.
Foto © Yunus CentreAlso, other speakers like Jason Roberts, Founder of the Oak Cliff Transit Authority and the Better Blog Project, Bettina Warburg, Co-founder of Animal Ventures and Robert Muggah, Research director and Co-founder of Igarapé Institute gave inspirational talks and lectures to further discuss how we can shape the cities of the future. After the successful and inspiring SmartCity Expo 2018, we are looking forward to more next year, hoping to be able to observe already the first outcomes and impacts of the Conference.
Foto: ©meet_the_leaderLast week, the yearly meeting of the World Travel Market in London, taking place from the 5th to the 7th of November, ended and created again new possibilities, ideas, and plans for the travel industry in the world. One of the world’s most influential travel provider, like Johan Lundgren, CEO, easyJet, or Bruce Poon Tip , founder of G Adventures and other speakers from different parts of the world, like Eliza Reid, the first lady of Iceland gathered at the WTM meeting 2018, exchanging new ideas and experiences to develop the travel industry and thus, to create remarkable opportunities and social initiatives for travellers. How do we navigate this world of possibilities? This was one of the key questions of this years’ meeting of the World Travel Market in London that faced not only the diversity of possibilities but also the challenge of dealing with ‘this world of possibilities’. The annual World Travel Market London allows the most influential travel providers to share their innovative ideas that will shape the world’s dreams and plans for travel over the next years. The program of the meeting this year varied a lot and gave the different travel agencies and entrepreneurs the chance to connect with experts from different areas of expertise. An interesting and relevant part of the meeting was focused on responsible tourism in order to establish sustainable development. In this sense, the social impact startup Authenticitys was shortlisted in the WTM Responsible Tourism Speed Networking Buyers 2016 at the World Responsible Tourism Day for ‘responsible travelling’. Also this year, on the World Responsible Tourism Day (7th of November), a lot of great WTM Responsible Tourism sessions, talks and panels took place. Business Taking Responsibility for Security, Health and Safety” stood on the program. There, different solutions for managing the responsibility on different aspects of guests and visitors were provided and discussed. “How can these risks be managed and reduced and whose responsibility is it?” The focus of this panel was to underline the role of businesses in ensuring the security, health, and safety of the travel community. Also, “Creating Shared Value” was another interesting topic. Presented by Harvard Professor Michael E. Porter, it discussed the importance of businesses going beyond CSR and creating shared value. The professor argues that tourism companies must redefine their purpose in order to create a shared value that can bring back together business and society. Only by then, the shared value can “reconnect company success with social progress”. It is getting more and more important, that tourism businesses achieve the engagement of people from the local community with the visitors and tourists, sharing their natural and cultural environment. What is more, the WTM meeting included the input about the exposition “Expo 2020 Showcases the Future of Sustainability- Water and Energy”, a particular project unveiling further details on the plans and progress of the sustainable world expo for the Abu Dabhi Sustainability week in January 2019. “More than just an event” The annual World Travel Market is an opportunity for travel provider and businesses to learn and profit from expert content, networking tools and the exchange of different ideas and solutions for more responsible tourism. By bringing together a community of global travel professionals all year round, mutual learning and understanding can be established and therefore, enables the transmission of creating a social impact in the travel industry.