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  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

  • Members Only: 2018 HFTP Compensation and Benefits Report

    By Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. Results to the biannual survey conducted by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP). Information includes data on compensation and benefits trends for finance and technology professionals in the club and lodging industries.

  • Primary Club Metrics

    Survey results identify which metrics are most often used to determine performance. By Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE; Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA; and Amanda Belarmino

  • Introducing 'Your HFTP': An Updated Online Interface for HFTP Members

    HFTP is excited to announce the newly updated “Your HFTP” online account portal. “Your HFTP” allows you to successfully manage your HFTP membership online. This refreshed online interface looks and feels just like the HFTP website and (better yet) is mobile-responsive.

San Sebastian will host the 5th edition of the UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism

UNWTO ·29 January 2019
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Basque Culinary Center (BCC) have signed the Agreement for the holding of the 5th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism (San Sebastian, Spain 2-3 May 2019). The new edition of this global forum is supported by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism of Spain, the Basque Government, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and the City of San Sebastian.Job creation and the promotion of entrepreneurship will be this year's special focus, in line with the 2019 UNWTO Year of Education, Skills and Jobs, closely aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The forum will bring together Ministers of Tourism, representatives from National and Local Tourism Administrations, chefs, entrepreneurs, academia and related stakeholders from tourism and gastronomy to discuss latest trends and to share experience.The event will see the announcement of the winner of the First Gastronomy Tourism Start-up Competition. The competition, organized by UNWTO and the BCC, will bring five finalists to San Sebastian."Tourism is a huge source of employment and its multiplier effect has a knock-on effect on other sectors, such as gastronomy and its huge value chain involving several sectors", said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili."We are especially proud to be co-organizers of the 5th UNWTO World Forum of Gastronomy Tourism. An edition that returns to San Sebastian and that grows exponentially thanks to the support of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism of Spain, the Basque Government, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and the City of Donostia. Tourism today is a sector closely linked to gastronomy. At the Basque Culinary Center, we promote knowledge through training in both sectors and work to create an ecosystem that stimulates entrepreneurship and ensures quality employment", underlined Joxe Mari Aizega, Director, Basque Culinary Center.Policy framework for the development of gastronomy tourism and its capacity to create jobs and promote entrepreneurship, future skills, as well as ways to support SMEs and entrepreneurships in gastronomy tourism will be addressed as well during the forum. The panel presentations will be complemented by working sessions giving all participants the opportunity to actively immerse, interact and share ideas.The event will close with a Masterclass by the Basque Culinary Center on how to develop competitive and sustainable gastronomy tourism in destinations.The Forum has been held since 2015.The Basque Culinary Center hosts it every two years with the aim to promote the exchange the most relevant experiences between experts in tourism and gastronomy, to identify best practices and to promote gastronomy tourism as a contributor to sustainable development.More informationAbout the ForumLink to competition

First Ever UNWTO/IPSOS Survey - Citizens Recognize The Positive Impact Of The Sector

UNWTO ·25 January 2019
Madrid, Spain - According to the first-ever global survey conducted by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and IPSOS, 47% of respondents think 'they live in cities with a high number of tourists'. Over 50% considers tourism has a positive impact in generating wealth and promoting cultural exchanges, and 49% feel there should be measures to improve tourism management. Only 12% of respondents favour limitations to the number of visitors.The online survey was conducted across 15 countries and targeted 12,000 people to better understand residents' perception towards city tourism, its impacts and management strategies."Today, adequately managing tourism to the benefit of visitors and residents alike, ensuring that local communities are listened to and benefit from tourism is more important than ever, said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. "There is a pressing need to set a roadmap for urban tourism which is fully aligned with the urban agenda", he added.Nearly half of the respondents (47%) think 'they live in a city with a high number of visitors. Yet, results vary significantly across countries, ranging from 68% in Australia to only 33% in France.The generation of wealth and income, the creation of intercultural exchanges and of new offers of leisure activities stand out as the biggest impacts on cities. The perception of tourism's positive impacts is particularly strong in Argentina, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Spain, and Sweden.For many urban destinations around the world, addressing the challenges of growing tourism demand and adequately managing tourist flows is now a priority. In a similar way, the results show that 49% of respondents feel that there should be measures to better manage tourism. Again, values change significantly by country - from 75% in Argentina to only 24% in Japan.Of all respondents, over 70% think these measures should focus on improving infrastructure and facilities as well as in creating attractions for both tourists and residents. Only 12% think measures should include the limitation of the number visitors and only 9% considered that tourism promotion should be stopped.Key findings47% of respondents think "they live in a city with a high number of tourists visiting"The mixed-picture of the perceived impacts rising from urban tourism in the different countries demonstrates the complexity of economic, social and environmental issues faced by destinations today.On the positive side, 52% think tourism has a big or moderate impact in generating wealth and income. On the other spectrum, 46% think it "creates overcrowding".49% of respondents think "there should be measures to manage tourism"Respondents are most receptive to the following measures: 'improve infrastructures and facilities' (72%), 'create experiences and attractions that benefit both residents and visitors' (71%), and 'ensure local communities benefit from tourism' (65%).Results also show that half of responses emphasized communicating and engaging with local communities (50%) and visitors (48%) as an important measure, whereas only 12% think there should be a 'limit to the number of tourists' and only 9% think tourism promotion should be stopped.The UNWTO / IPSOS survey on was part of the IPSOS Online omnibus (Global@dvisor) December 2018 wave (fieldwork between 21 January 2018 and 14 January 2019.About IPSOSIpsos ranks third in the global research industry. With a strong presence in 89 countries, and more than 16,000 people itcan conduct research programmes in more than 100 countries. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is controlled and managed by research professionals. They have built a solid Group around a multi-specialist positioning - Media and advertising research; Marketing research; Client and employee relationship management; Opinion & social research; Mobile, Online, Offline data collection and delivery.IPSOS contactsEva Aranda | eva.aranda@ipsos.comVicente Castellanos| vicente.castellanos@ipsos.com

International Tourist Arrivals Reach 1.4 billion Two Years Ahead of Forecasts

UNWTO ·22 January 2019
2018 totalled 1.4 billion international tourist arrivals (+6%), consolidating 2017 strong results and proving to be the second strongest year since 2010Middle East (+10%) and Africa (+7%) grew above the world average while Asia and the Pacific and Europe grew at 6%For 2019, UNWTO forecasts a 3-4% increase, in line with the historical growth trendInternational tourist arrivals grew 6% in 2018, totalling 1.4 billion according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. UNWTO's long term forecast issued in 2010 indicated the 1.4 billion mark would be reached in 2020, yet the remarkable growth of international arrivals in recent years has brought it two years ahead.International tourist arrivals up 6% in 2018UNWTO estimates that worldwide international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) increased 6% to 1.4 billion in 2018, clearly above the 3.7% growth registered in the global economy.In relative terms, the Middle East (+10%), Africa (+7%), Asia and the Pacific and Europe (both at +6%) led growth in 2018. Arrivals to the Americas were below the world average (+3%)."The growth of tourism in recent years confirms that the sector is today one of the most powerful drivers of economic growth and development. It is our responsibility to manage it in a sustainable manner and translate this expansion into real benefits for all countries, and particularly, to all local communities, creating opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship and leaving no one behind" said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. "This is why UNWTO is focussing 2019 on education, skills and job creation.", he added.UNWTO's long-term forecast published in 2010 predicted the 1.4 billion mark of international tourist arrivals for 2020. Yet stronger economic growth, more affordable air travel, technological changes, new businesses models and greater visa facilitation around the word have accelerated growth in recent years.Results by regionInternational tourist arrivals in Europe reached 713 million in 2018, a notable 6% increase over an exceptionally strong 2017. Growth was driven by Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+7%), Central and Eastern Europe (+6%) and Western Europe (+6%). Results in Northern Europe were flat due to the weakness of arrivals to the United Kingdom.Asia and the Pacific (+6%) recorded 343 million international tourist arrivals in 2018. Arrivals in South-East Asia grew 7%, followed by North-East Asia (+6%) and South Asia (+5%). Oceania showed more moderate growth at +3%.The Americas (+3%) welcomed 217 million international arrivals in 2018, with mixed results across destinations. Growth was led by North America (+4%), and followed by South America (+3%), while Central America and the Caribbean (both -2%) reached very mixed results, the latter reflecting the impact of the September 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria.Data from Africa points to a 7% increase in 2018 (North Africa at +10% and Sub-Saharan +6%), reaching an estimated 67 million arrivals.The Middle East (+10%) showed solid results last year consolidating its 2017 recovery, with international tourist arrivals reaching 64 million.Growth expected to return to historical trends in 2019Based on current trends, economic prospects and the UNWTO Confidence Index, UNWTO forecasts international arrivals to grow 3% to 4% next year, more in line with historic growth trends.As a general backdrop, the stability of fuel prices tends to translate into affordable air travel while air connectivity continues to improve in many destinations, facilitating the diversification of source markets. Trends also show strong outbound travel from emerging markets, especially India and Russia but also from smaller Asian and Arab source markets.At the same time, the global economic slowdown, the uncertainty related to the Brexit, as well as geopolitical and trade tensions may prompt a "wait and see" attitude among investors and travellers.Overall, 2019 is expected to see the consolidation among consumers of emerging trends such as the quest for 'travel to change and to show', 'the pursuit of healthy options' such as walking, wellness and sports tourism, 'multigenerational travel' as a result of demographic changes and more responsible travel."Digitalisation, new business models, more affordable travel and societal changes are expected to continue shaping our sector, so both destination and companies need to adapt if they want to remain competitive", added Pololikashvili.More information is available at:UNWTO World Tourism Barometer HomepageUNWTO World Tourism Barometer Presentation

World Tourism Organization Partners with Unidigital to Support Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Americas

UNWTO ·14 December 2018
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) provided its support at the inauguration in Argentina of the first specialized hub for tourism in the Americas: Unidigital, with which a collaboration agreement was signed to promote innovation in tourism.Unidigital is the result of the collaboration between the public and private sectors to promote innovation in tourism. It will offer services, products and training in digital transformation in order to allow the most disruptive entrepreneurs in tourism in the Americas to develop their projects. The Hub was presented as part of the UNWTO Tourism Tech Adventure Forum, held on 11-13 December 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina."Today is a historic day because we have brought together many tourism authorities of the Americas to inaugurate this place, which is open to any entrepreneur, and where together we will do very interesting things and achieve excellent results," said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. He added: "We are committed to helping them find investors and give them the opportunity to internationalize not only in the Americas, but also beyond the continent."The Minister of Tourism of Argentina and Chair of the UNWTO Executive Council, Gustavo Santos, stressed that "innovation and tourism are allies in generating life opportunities for our people and creating employment". He added: "This reaffirms our commitment and responsibility towards this sector, which will lead human development in the years to come."Unidigital founder and CEO Felipe Duran thanked the authorities for their presence and said: "I am excited for Buenos Aires to be the gateway to the Americas, a place where art, technology and tourism come together; with our projects we are going to get involved in people's tourism."The Unidigital Hub opened in the context of the UNWTO Tourism Adventure Tech Forum, the tourism and technology forum organized by the UNWTO and the Ministry of Tourism of Argentina. The winner of the UNWTO Data Challenge 2018 was also announced at the event, Diego Turconi. This project is organized in collaboration with the ieXL of IE University, whose objective is to demonstrate the ability to generate data-driven solutions.The regional Startup Competition was won by Eduardo Zenteno del Toro, with his Nenemi project, a platform that seeks to bring Asian travellers to Mexico with potential for expansion in the Americas. He will now have the opportunity to avail Unidigital's services valued at up to 100,000 dollars.Participating in the UNWTO Tourism Tech Adventure Forum are leaders in innovation, top-level startups and key actors in the global innovation and digital transformation ecosystem.It is an unprecedented platform for entrepreneurship and tourism innovation, with the aim of creating synergies between the different actors, exchanging success stories and fostering a venture capital investment culture. Likewise, this space provides solutions to challenges related to digital transformation as a source of employment generation, competitiveness and sustainable development.In this same context, a seminar aimed at ministers of the Americas and Argentine national ministers was held on how to build successful digitalization strategies. A workshop for startups was also held, addressing the subject of motivation for tourism investors and entrepreneurship.Useful links:Forum websiteUNWTO Data Challenge websitePhotos of the event (coming soon)UNWTO Innovation, Technology and Sustainability Department

UNWTO/UNESCO Conference: Cultural Tourism Sustains Communities and Living Heritage

UNWTO · 6 December 2018
The third cultural tourism conference (3-5 December) organized jointly between the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) concluded today in Istanbul, Turkey. Participants declared their support for cultural tourism as a driver for safeguarding living heritage, catalyzing creativity in cities, and spreading tourism's socioeconomic benefits to all.A key conclusion from the conference was the need for a clear and strong link between tourism, culture and local community stakeholders. Cultural tourism policies and strategies must consider the perspectives and interests of local communities, who can also assist governance bodies in balancing tourism development with heritage conservation and safeguarding. Channelling tourism revenues into cultural preservation and community development was identified as a key governance challenge.President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca of Malta addressed the conference at its opening, reinforcing that: "In today's world, tourism diplomacy is becoming more important to foster understanding, and culture is key to achieving this".UNESCO Deputy Director-General Xing Qu affirmed tourism's essential role, stating: "Tourism provides a tremendous opportunity to support local economic development, while breaking down barriers between people. Harnessing creativity and technological innovation, as well as safeguarding heritage is essential for promoting responsible and sustainable tourism to support and unify communities for years to come.""Culture is one of the drivers of tourism growth, so protecting cultural heritage and promoting tourism for sustainable development are part of the same equation. That 30-plus ministers from around the world are gathered here proves the place of culture in tourism," said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili opening the event.These sentiments were echoed by Turkey's culture and tourism minister Mehmet Ersoy. "The culture and tourism partnership provides a framework for public-private cooperation, education, investments and sustainability," Minister Ersoy added.In a debate moderated by the BBC's Rajan Datar, the more than 30 ministers present concluded that tourism and culture are indivisible and must work together so that tourism does not suffocate cultural heritage and its benefits for visitors and locals. However, the main challenge is to spread cultural tourism's attractiveness beyond established sites whilst managing large visitor numbers.The first session of the conference focused on cultural tourism's potential to help cities transform into more sustainable and creative environments and destinations. It ended in agreement that the creative and cultural sectors can strengthen and provide innovation in cultural tourism, forging links that turn tourism into a tool to safeguard tangible and intangible cultural heritage.The second day of the event was given over to the twin influence of responsible tourism and technological advances in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. It was agreed that innovation should be strengthened for better management, promotion and preservation of heritage, as well as to make cultural tourism accessible to all.During the event, five leading Turkish tourism companies signed the Private Sector Commitment to the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, boosting the efforts of Turkish industry leaders to ensure sustainable development of the sector.The 3rd UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture will produce a declaration, to be made available soon, outlining the cross-sector commitment of all participants to reinforcing the tourism and culture partnership as an enabler for achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda of the United Nations. The next edition of the conference is scheduled to take place in Kyoto, Japan in 2019.Useful links:Conference websiteConference programmePictures of the eventUNWTO Department for Ethics, Culture and Social Responsibility

2018 Poised to Advance Tourism's Leadership among Top Global Economic Sectors

UNWTO ·28 November 2018
The latest figures on world tourism issued by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) show that international tourist arrivals grew 5% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2018. This reflects continued strong demand in a favourable overall economic context. All world regions enjoyed robust growth in international tourism in the first nine months of this year, fuelled by solid demand from major source markets. Asia and the Pacific led growth (+7%), followed by Europe and the Middle East (+6% each), Africa (+5%) and the Americas (+3%).Despite comparatively slower growth between July and September, UNWTO estimates that destinations worldwide received 1,083 million international arrivals through September, an additional 56 million when compared to the same period of 2017.2018 results to date are in line with UNWTOs growth forecast of +4% to +5% for the year. The first nine months of the year usually account for about three quarters of total annual international arrivals, as they include the Northern Hemisphere high season months of July and August. For detailed resultsPositive growth in tourism earnings across most destinationsWith few exceptions, preliminary data on international tourism receipts confirm the positive trend seen in arrivals, with particularly strong results in Asian and European destinations.Among the top earners, tourism earnings in the United Kingdom were up by 12% despite a decline in arrivals. In Australia, receipts increased by 11% whereas France reported an 8% growth and Italy 6%, both in line with growth in arrivals. Tourism receipts in the United States, Spain and Germany went up 3%.In Asia, China recorded a 21% increase in tourism earnings, with Macao (China) and Japan also leading results with 20% and 19% growth, respectively.International tourism expenditurePreliminary data on tourism spending for the first nine months of 2018 reflect increasing demand from major source markets.The Russian Federation (+15%) reported the largest increase in spending and continues to recover strongly after some years of decline. The United Kingdom reported 10% growth despite a weak pound against the euro and US dollar, and tourism spending from France picked up 10% after some years of rather flat growth.The United States, the worlds second largest source market, recorded a 7% increase in line with the performance of recent years while top source market China showed a minor decrease in spending in the first six months of 2018 as a result of the weaker Yuan.Useful links:UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, November 2018 Edition (Excerpt)UNWTO World Tourism Barometer HomepageUNWTO World Tourism Highlights, 2018 EditionFactsheet

UNWTO Features as Tourism Enters Ibero-American Cooperation Agenda

UNWTO ·22 November 2018
he 26th Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government (La Antigua, Guatemala, 15-16 November) concluded with a high-level political declaration on sustainable development in which tourism plays a key supporting role. The commitment, which includes the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), marks the first time the tourism sector has been featured in a top-level multilateral cooperation agenda.Ibero-American presidents and heads of state have mandated the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) with introducing tourism in the development cooperation portfolio of its 22 member states, all of which are also UNWTO Member States.In the 'La Antigua Action Programme for Ibero-American Cooperation', the mandate from heads of state and government specifically calls on SEGIB to closely coordinate its future work around tourism with UNWTO. Both organizations are asked to collaborate on initiatives to promote sustainable tourism that can impact on development, partnering with key actors of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.This accord is unprecedented for its inclusion of tourism in an international multilateral action plan for cooperation. The commitment includes tourism and the economy together as one issue area, urging states to prioritize public policies for developing and managing sustainable and responsible tourism to boost competitiveness.A first contribution of UNWTO has been the publication "The Contribution of Tourism to the Sustainable Development Goals in Ibero-America", produced on the occasion of the First Ibero-American Conference of Ministers of Economy and Tourism held in September, and leading up to Summit of Presidents and Heads of State.This advance has the potential to give tourism a deservedly strong voice at the highest political and policy levels, adding value to economies and complementing UNWTO's work with its members and partners across and beyond Ibero-American states.Useful links:La Antigua Action Programme for Ibero-American Cooperation (in Spanish)The Contribution of Tourism to the Sustainable Development Goals in Ibero-America (in Spanish)Guatemala Declaration: Ibero-American Commitment to Sustainable Development (in Spanish)SEGIB news release on the 26th Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government (in Spanish)UNWTO Regional Department for the AmericasUNWTO Regional Department for Europe

UNWTO Partners with Niantic to Develop Innovative Tourism Experiences through Real-World Games

UNWTO ·20 November 2018
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has partnered with one of its newest Affiliate Members, real-world games developer Niantic, to enhance global tourism through the use of mobile augmented reality game experiences.UNWTO will collaborate with Niantic, creators of Pokemon GO and Ingress Prime, to curate unique campaigns around the world that will build awareness for the Organization's Travel.Enjoy.Respect campaign, designed to enhance tourism's contribution to the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Each activity will also be designed to inspire and support exploration, and promote safe and responsible gaming practices for players of all ages.Niantic and UNWTO will work together to combine tourism and Augmented Reality technology for players to engage with real-world locations using Niantic's mobile games in a variety of ways. Niantic's games and global initiatives have brought millions of players from around the world together at real-world events that promote civic engagement and cultural diversity while highlighting local heritage."With our ongoing commitment to promote sustainable and responsible tourism, and Niantic having recently become a UNWTO Affiliate Member, this partnership is a natural fit," said Ion Vilcu, Director of UNWTO's Affiliate Members Department. "Niantic are pioneers in creating real-world mobile game experiences that not only motivate their players to discover new places, but also to appreciate the culture and beauty of the world around them," he added."Our goal at Niantic is to create interactive games that encourage exercise, social interaction and exploration, giving players the opportunity to play together in the real world and discover the incredible history hidden in their own neighbourhoods," said Anne Beuttenmuller, Head of Marketing EMEA at Niantic. "We're looking forward to creating brand new adventures in collaboration with UNWTO to increase awareness around their mission of responsible tourism," she added.Niantic was accepted as an Affiliate Member on 31 October 2018 at the 109th session of UNWTO's Executive Council, held in Manama, Bahrain. This new partnership helps to bolster UNWTO's ongoing efforts to bring together the actors of the 'ecosystem' of tourism technology under its priority of innovation and the digital transformation in tourism.Useful links:Niantic blog (for collaborative events between UNWTO and Niantic)Travel.Enjoy.Respect website109th Session of the UNWTO Executive CouncilUNWTO Affiliate Members

Harness Cultural Routes and Experiences for Competitive Tourism, Concludes UNWTO Congress

UNWTO ·16 November 2018
Madrid, Spain - Following the first edition held two years ago, the 2nd International Congress on World Civilizations and Historic Routes (15-16 November) concluded today in Sofia, Bulgaria. In the framework of the European Year of Cultural Heritage and the EU-China Tourism Year, the event explored how tourism along historic routes can help to safeguard and promote tangible and intangible cultural heritage.Organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Ministry of Tourism of Bulgaria, the congress explored the role of national and regional public bodies in enhancing of historic routes, particularly across nations. It gathered Ministers from four continents, as well as public and private experts representing iconic cultural tourism routes including Route 66, the Way of Saint James (Camino de Santiago), the Phoenicians' Route and the Silk Road."Historic routes can play a major role in revealing the unique history, culture and natural assets of territories along them, becoming a powerful promotional tool and a unique instrument to increase tourism competitiveness for many destinations", said UNWTO Deputy Secretary-General Jaime Cabal opening the event.Nikolina Angelkova, Minister of Tourism of Bulgaria, outlined her plans to advance cultural tourism in Bulgaria. "Cultural tourism can play a key role in turning Bulgaria into an all-year-round tourism destination. We are considering creating an ancient civilizations' route incorporating UNESCO monuments, which would better acknowledge and promote the Balkan region as a tourism destination," she said.Discussions centred on identifying best practices in tourism development, management and promotion that can help to harness the tourism potential of historic routes, enhance the value of their cultural heritage, and preserve their authenticity. Successful examples were exchanged of well-developed and managed historic routes, with a focus on ways to maximize tourism's socio-economic impacts for local communities and contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.In recent years cultural tourism has emerged as a major driver of demand, in line with travellers' growing interest to immerse themselves in tourism 'experiences' such as local rituals and traditions. The congress produced a useful set of recommendations that can provide guidance to all tourism stakeholders interested in harnessing the potential that cultural heritage routes offer for enhancing the attractiveness and competiveness of destinations.Video recordings of the 2nd International Congress on World Civilizations and Historic Routes will be uploaded early next week.

Community Involvement Needed in Cultural Tourism's Digital Transformation, says UNWTO Seminar

UNWTO ·14 November 2018
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)'s International Seminar on Harnessing Cultural Tourism through Innovation and Technology and 40th Affiliate Members Plenary Session concluded with a renewed call for community participation in development of cultural tourism using cutting-edge technologies (12-14 November 2018, Hamedan, Islamic Republic of Iran).Cultural and heritage attractions are key to tourism development in many countries around the world, and innovation and technology can make these attractions more accessible while preserving their essence, the seminar concluded. It also stressed that innovation and technology should empower, rather than disenfranchise, host populations and communities and can assist them in retaining their authenticity, while cultural heritage development and preservation should be a part of local and national plans for socioeconomic development through tourism and technology."Technology and innovation, including ICT, can improve the quality of the tourist experience. It can improve governance, profits and the wellbeing of residents. And it can preserve intangible and tangible heritage resources for the sustainable development of cultural tourism," said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili opening the event."The world's diverse range of culture and heritage form the best means and ways to connect peoples of the world - but only if the rights and privileges of both host and guest populations are respected and responded to. And innovation and technology can help", added Iranian Vice-President Ali Asghar Mounesan, who also heads the Iran Cultural Heritage, Handcraft and Tourism Organization (ICHTO).The seminar agreed that informed governance and policies surrounding uptake of new technologies and innovative practices can guide tourism development and open doors for the sector, with conservation and revitalization of cultural heritage one of its main benefits. It also highlighted that for tourism authorities, participation of, and collaboration with, the host community should be a driver for technology-driven change. It was urged that tourism development not only maximize benefits and minimize costs for greater competitiveness, but also respond to the expectations and needs of hosts and guests alike.The seminar was organized by UNWTO, ICHTO and Alisadr Tourism Company. Alongside it, Hamedan played host to the UNWTO Affiliate Members' 40th plenary, in which active discussions were held as UNWTO's Affiliate Members voiced their opinions and suggestions on the Affiliate Members Department's Programme of Work for 2019.Useful links:Conference websiteUNWTO Affiliate Members

UNWTO/ETC Report: Outbound Tourism Spending from the Gulf is Six Times the Global Average

UNWTO · 9 November 2018
A new report from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the European Travel Commission (ETC) shows that outbound tourism from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - comprising six countries of the Arabian peninsula - has grown strongly in recent years, with international tourism expenditure surpassing USD 60 billion in 2017.'The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Outbound Travel Market', a new report prepared by UNWTO and ETC with the support of Value Retail, examines the fast-growing outbound market of the GCC countries - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates - with an additional focus on the image of Europe as a tourism destination. It finds that per-capita international tourism spending from the GCC was 6.5 times higher than the global average in 2017, with expenditure estimated to be more than USD 60 billion in 2017, up from USD 40 billion in 2010."GCC countries constitute a fast-growing market with the potential to make a significant contribution to European tourism, diversifying demand and promoting new tourism segments", said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili upon launching the report."The GCC nations remain a growing source market for European destinations, which should themselves capitalize on the potential of a younger, value-driven, well-informed and technology-savvy GCC traveller", added ETC President Peter de Wilde.Amongst its key findings, the report states that outbound travel from GCC countries to European destinations has benefited from the unprecedented growth in air travel during the past decade, with Gulf carriers becoming major players in long-haul aviation. Air connectivity between Europe and the GCC has seen exponential growth, providing easy access to travel between the two regions.It notes that GCC travellers are mostly young and family-oriented, with large disposable incomes, and looking for high-quality accommodation, food and retail services. They value Europe's variety of attractions and landscapes, developed infrastructure and common visa and currency systems, which make multi-destination travel easier. Europe is seen as offering diversity in experiences as well as opportunities to shop for luxury and designer fashion. Barriers to booking a trip to Europe include safety and security concerns, the language barrier and the high cost of holidays.The report concludes with specific recommendations on how to position and market Europe to GCC tourists. It finds that destinations should focus on promoting specific tourism products and develop pan-European themes to attract tourists looking to visit multiple destinations.The launch of the study will be supported by a webinar providing an overview of prospects in the GCC outbound travel market, insights into the profile and behaviour of GCC travellers, and appropriate targeted marketing strategies and messages for GCC consumers.Useful links:'The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Outbound Travel Market' Executive SummaryInfographicsWebinarUNWTO Regional Department for the Middle EastUNWTO Market Intelligence and Competitiveness

Governments and Investors Share Knowledge on Tourism Technology at UNWTO/WTM Ministers' Summit

UNWTO · 7 November 2018
The UNWTO/WTM Ministers' Summit, held yesterday by World Travel Market and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), was well received by participants from government and the private sector for its more dynamic new format leading to more concrete takeaways around this year's theme: Investment in Tourism Technology.This year, the UNWTO/WTM Ministers' Summit held at World Travel Market, one of the world's biggest tourism trade show (6 November 2018), focused on investment in tourism technology with a novel format. For the first time the summit featured a panel of private sector leaders alongside a panel of ministers, sparking an open and useful exchange of ideas and opinions on how to channel private capital into innovative tourism technologies.This meant that tourism ministers and high-level representatives from countries including Bahrain, Bulgaria, Egypt, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Uganda, Uruguay and the UK were able to directly reflect on and respond to the opinions voiced by the leading tourism and technology investment funds involved in the panel, such as Alibaba Capital Partners, Atomico and Vynn Capital."Without the support of the key tourism stakeholders, notably governments, corporations and investors, development and implementation of innovative products is not possible. Today's discussions shed light on the influential role of both sectors as well as the need for stronger public-private partnerships", said UNWTO Deputy Secretary-General Jaime Cabal opening the event.A common sentiment amongst the panel of private sector entrepreneurs was that disruption leads change in the tourism sector, but regulation can be preventative to obtaining the attractive investment conditions needed to support disruptive new business ventures. It was suggested that regulation should be fixed in order to give clear guidelines to investors who wish to put private capital into new technology.Several technology investors highlighted the need to narrow the opportunity cost and clear up the governance barriers for innovation in tourism. "It needs to be easy for start-ups to grow and expand - if rules change too quickly, investors will hesitate to invest," Katherine Grass of Thayer Ventures told ministers.Lio Chen, Managing Director at the Travel & Hospitality Center of Innovation at venture capital firm Plug and Play, called for larger technology companies to engage with start-ups to boost ideas, human resources and investment. "I ask ministers to incentivize the top five corporations in their country to work with start-ups and foster innovation," he said.On the subject of regulation, Michael Ellis, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said: "It's a question of balance, and it's a challenge to get that right, especially in technology." He also urged ministers to boost sustainability and help tackle the world's climate-related problems, such as rising carbon emissions.Education was also highlighted as an element making investments more attractive. "Education allows technology to root into societies and contribute to making tourism more inclusive for communities," said Benjamin Liberoff, Vice-Minister of Tourism of Uruguay."We have brought the public and private sector together in a unique format, and hope it will deliver real change in the sector. As tourism grows, then technology will play a key role," said Simon Press, Senior Exhibitions Director of WTM London.Moderated by Richard Quest of CNN International, the summit contributed to UNWTO's ongoing priority to place tourism at the centre of the global innovation agenda.

UNWTO Calls for Tech and Investment in Tourism at World Travel Market 2018

UNWTO · 5 November 2018
Following the official celebration of World Tourism Day 2018 (27 September) in Budapest, Hungary under the theme of 'Tourism and the Digital Transformation', and the 'Tourism Tech Adventure: Big Data Solutions' forum held in Manama, Bahrain on 1 November, UNWTO will host this year's UNWTO/WTM Minister's Summit on 6 November on the topic 'Investment in Tourism Technology'.The Summit will continue the conversation on innovation and digital transformation, a UNWTO priority designed to give tourism its deserved prominence on the digital agenda. It will debut a disruptive new format, involving private sector leaders for the first time. A panel of investors will discuss investment in tourism technology, followed by the ministerial segment that this year will link both public and private sectors to set the agenda for ensuring the sector's digital transformation enhances its inclusion, sustainability and competitiveness.Both panels will be moderated by CNN's foremost international business correspondent Richard Quest, anchor of Quest Means Business, with focus on creating innovative ideas and partnerships that can boost investment. Developing an innovation ecosystem, data-driven decision making, digital destination branding, and the role of government and policy in smart tourism management are among the topics to be addressed.UNWTO, Procolombia and Sound Diplomacy launch first report dedicated to music and tourismUNWTO's presence at WTM will also encompass the launch of a new white paper, produced in partnership with Procolombia and Sound Diplomacy, examining the role of music in tourism development, marketing and experiences, and the economic benefits of music and tourism sector partnerships. The launch of 'Music is the New Gastronomy' on 6 November will accompany a panel exploring the value of music tourism in depth.Useful links:2018 UNWTO & WTM Ministers' Summit: Investment in Tourism TechnologyNews release on the launch of Music is the New GastronomyPress conference on the launch of Music is the New GastronomyWorld Travel Market websiteUNWTO World Tourism Day website

UNWTO Agenda Receives Strong Support at Executive Council and Introduces Technology Forum

UNWTO · 1 November 2018
he World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) concluded its 109th Executive Council session in Manama, Bahrain today, with Members showing appreciation both for progress made under the 2018 institutional priorities and for the Organization's financial stability and restructuring process. Tomorrow UNWTO will also introduce a forum named 'Tourism Tech Adventure: Big Data Solutions, bringing together the 'ecosystem' of tourism innovation and raising the sector's role in the digital agenda.A successful 109th session of the UNWTO Executive Council brought with it much appreciation of the Organization's efforts in 2018. A number of Member States expressed great support for UNWTO's efforts to prioritize tourism in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The executive management team was praised for creating a cleaner structure more equipped to effectively respond to Members' requests, as well as the clear management priorities and sharp focus placed on UNWTO's work areas of education and digital transformation.A mere ten months into the new mandate, UNWTO was able to communicate showing a financial surplus. At this point in the year, the Organization has received higher contributions than in the last three years and the highest percentage of budgetary income since 2014, with expenditure also on target.UNWTO's Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili gave thanks to Bahrain, the host country for the proceedings. "Being hosted in Bahrain is very relevant. Here you can see how innovation and being a smart destination can be positioned high on the political and economic agenda, and how supporting tourism education and capacity building is a sound investment", he said.On the margins of the Council UNWTO held a high-level workshop on data-driven tourism management. The Organization has introduced a new forum, 'Tourism Tech Adventure: Big Data Solutions', where panellists debate how open data platforms are revolutionizing tourism, along with how to stimulate venture capital and greater gender equality in tourism and technology.'Tourism Tech Adventure: Big Data Solutions' will also welcome another round of pitches for finalists of the 1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition in Collaboration with Globalia, launched in June 2018 to identify companies that can foster the sector's digital transformation. The finalists' projects will be presented at the next International Tourism Fair of Madrid (Fitur) in January 2019.The forum serves as a follow-up to the official World Tourism Day 2018 celebrations on 27 September in Budapest, Hungary, under the theme of 'Tourism and the Digital Transformation', and a precursor to the upcoming UNWTO and World Travel Market ministerial summit in London, UK (6 November) on investment in tourism technology. All are part of UNWTO's ongoing strategy to give tourism its deserved prominence on the digital agenda. Secretary-General Pololikashvili signed cooperation agreements during the Executive Council with the tourism authorities of Argentina and Portugal to strengthen UNWTO's cooperation agenda on innovation in tourism.Mr. Pololikashvili announced during the Council that UNWTO governing bodies' meetings will have a specific overarching thematic focus each year. After 2018's focus on digital transformation, 2019 will look at employment and education in line with the theme of World Tourism Day 2019: 'Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all'.Useful links:109th session of the UNWTO Executive CouncilUNWTO & WTM Ministers' Summit 2018World Tourism Day 20181st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition

Sustainability Set to Shape New Standard of Tourism Statistics

UNWTO ·30 October 2018
The World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) initiative Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (MST) received a boost last week when its working group met in Madrid (24-25 October). After successful pilot studies to produce credible and comparable data, the initiative is on track with its aim of getting the MST framework adopted as the third international standard on tourism statistics.The group of experts creating a statistical framework for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism met to establish the MST initiative's major goals for 2019. The initiative is creating a draft framework for a data standard for tourism's impact on sustainability and plans to have it adopted as the third international standard on tourism statistics by the UN Statistics Commission (UNSC).Among the areas of discussion during the group's meeting on 24-25 October were summarizing the pilot studies done in Germany, Philippines and Saudi Arabia to test MST's relevance, and which have shown feasibility of the proposed framework in three different national contexts. This means the MST framework is on track to be prepared for submission as an international standard.For 2019 the MST working group has tasked itself with refining and documenting three statistically-based tourism indicators to monitor the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their targets. UNWTO is the custodian agency of these three indicators, and coordinates the development of tourism-related indicators with countries and UN agencies. The next step will then be to present this draft framework in UNWTO's 2019 meetings of its governing bodies.Background to the MST frameworkStatistical frameworks enable countries to produce data that is credible and comparable across countries, time periods and other standards. MST is a UNWTO-led initiative for a statistical framework for tourism, supported by UNSC since March 2017. Its roadmap was set in the 6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics, held in June 2017 in Manila, Philippines.In order to develop tourism potential, better manage the sector, and support effective evidence-based policy decisions, there is a need to better measure tourism using high-quality official statistics covering economic, social, and environmental sustainability. MST aims to expand existing tourism measurement beyond its primarily economic dimension to also measure social and environmental dimensions.It aims to link UNSC's System of Environmental-Economic Accounting with the Tourism Satellite Account framework, which is one of the two existing official frameworks for measuring tourism. The other is the International Recommendations for Tourism Statistics. Both were developed and proposed to UNSC by UNWTO. A similar process is planned for MST.Useful links: MST websiteWebsite and agenda of the meeting6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics: Measuring Sustainable Tourism website

The 12th UNWTO/PATA Forum Looks Into the Future of Tourism

UNWTO ·29 October 2018
Madrid, Spain, 29 October 2018 - The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the People's Government of Guilin, China held the 12th UNWTO/PATA Forum on Tourism Trends and Outlook on 25-27 October 2018. This year's edition - 'The Future of Tourism: Road to 2030', aligns with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."Digital advances provide opportunities to tourism in order to enhance inclusiveness, community empowerment and efficient resource management to achieve the SDGs. Yet to do so, we need to better understand where tourism is heading so we can adopt the adequate policies and business strategies." said UNWTO Executive Director Shanzhong Zhu at the event.International tourist arrivals in Asia and the Pacific grew 6% in 2017 to reach a total of 323 million. Rapid economic growth in emerging economy markets, rising air connectivity, more affordable travel and enhanced visa facilitation continue to fuel tourism from within and outside the region. Asian destinations earned USD 390 billion in international tourism receipts in 2017, 29% of the global figure, a share that has steadily increased from 17% in 2000. China, the world's top spender in international tourism and fourth largest destination, has been one of the main drivers behind this growth.Dr. Ian Yeoman, travel and tourism futurologist, delivered the keynote speech on the future of tourism, highlighting the importance of societal behaviours towards a sustainable future and the distribution of wealth generated by tourism, as main drivers of change.Furthermore, topics covered at the Forum included how digital advances and data can be used to support sustainable tourism for development. Presentations were made by Google, TripAdvisor, Vynn Capital, STR, the European Travel Commission as well as research and policymakers from across different countries in Asia and the Pacific. The Forum concluded by emphasising the need for transformation and seize the opportunities brought by innovation and technology to move sustainability to the next level.The 12th UNWTO/PATA Forum on Tourism Trends and Outlook drew more than 220 experts from 22 countries, among which representatives from National Tourism Administrations, National Tourism Organizations, tourism businesses and academics. With the longstanding collaboration of the Hong-Kong Polytechnic University, the Forum has become over the last 12 years a reference platform on global and regional tourism trends.

New UNWTO Global Report on Inclusive Tourism Destinations launched on the occasion of UN Day 2018

UNWTO ·24 October 2018
A new report by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), produced in collaboration with UNWTO Affiliate Member globaldit, presents a model for inclusive tourism destinations. 'Global Report on Inclusive Tourism: Model and success stories" is launched on the occasion of the UN Day 2018 celebration in Madrid, Spain.Modelling inclusive tourism destinations on the capacity of tourism to integrate disadvantaged groups and benefit from its activity, is at the centre of this report. Showcasing how tourism can function as a vehicle for sustainable development, and the reduction of poverty and inequality, in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).The Model for inclusive tourism destinations presented in this Global Report contributes directly to SDG 8 - Decent work and economic growth and SDG 10 - Reduction of inequalities; but also SDG 5 - Gender equality and SDG 17 - Global partnership for sustainable development."As globalization, interconnectivity and a growing middle class leads to ever more people travelling, the world will continue seeming to get smaller and inclusion will become even more of a priority," said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. He added that this publication "will serve as an important tool for the tourism community to create and promote inclusion in destinations, and a valuable reference for all tourism stakeholders in developing best practices for a more inclusive sector".In addition, this report highlights the need to foster discussion on and examine new approaches to inclusive tourism in order to drive tourism's long-term sustainability.Various experts from organizations in the field of tourism and the SDGs contributed to this report: the Ashoka Foundation, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Google, IE University, PREDIF, the SDG Fund, Airbnb, Vinces, Walhalla DCS and Ekin Consulting. It also features success stories from a variety of stakeholders, such as the Gauteng Tourism Authority, Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, CENFOTUR, Korea Tourism Organization, VisitScotland, Chemonics and the State of Michoacan, Mexico.Useful links:Global Report on Inclusive Tourism Destinations

UNWTO/GTERC Report : Asia and the Pacific grows in importance for Global Tourism

UNWTO ·23 October 2018
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in partnership with the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre (GTERC), presented its Asia Tourism Trends Report today at the Global Tourism Economy Forum in Macao (China). The report shows Asia and the Pacific outperforming all world regions in growth in international arrivals since 2005.'UNWTO/GTERC Asia Tourism Trends - 2018' shows that international tourist arrivals in Asia and the Pacific grew 6% in 2017 to reach 323 million, around a quarter of the world's total. Of all world regions Asia and the Pacific, the second-most visited after Europe, has grown the fastest in international tourist arrivals since 2005. Arrivals increased an average of 6% per year, above the world average of 4%.Rapid economic growth in a region with over half the world's population, coupled with rising air connectivity, travel facilitation and large infrastructure projects, have boosted international travel in the region. This has had a large impact on Asian destinations' tourism earnings, which have steadily increased from 17% of the world total in 2000 to 29% in 2017. This is equivalent to US$ 390 billion in tourism receipts.Asia and the Pacific plays a vital role as a source market as well, fuelling much growth in both regional and long-haul destinations. The region produced 335 million international travellers spending US$ 502 billion in 2017, 37% of the world total. Around 80% of Asia's these visits were concentrated in Asia destinations. Outside the region, 56% of the long-haul trips were to Europe.EU-China Tourism YearTo celebrate the EU-China Tourism Year 2018, the report looks at international tourism between China, the largest economy in Asia, and the block of 28 European Union (EU) countries.It finds that 5.7 million Chinese tourists travelled to Europe in 2016, of which 3.5 million went to the EU. In reverse, 5.5 million Europeans travelled to China in 2016, 3.1 million of whom from EU countries.China's Greater Bay Area - a major outbound areaThe last chapter of 'UNWTO/GTERC Asia Tourism Trends - 2018' provides an insight into the Greater Bay Area of China, a project to create a large socio-economic zone and tourism area comprising the two Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao, as well as nine cities in Guangdong Province. According to the report, the Greater Bay Area is China's fastest-growing tourism region and the Pearl River Delta home to several cities with high tourism development including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Foshan.Useful links:UNWTO/GTERC Asia Tourism Trends - 2018 EditionUNWTO World Tourism Highlights: 2018 EditionInfographics

UNWTO Launches First Global Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition

UNWTO ·19 October 2018
The World Tourism Organization and Basque Culinary Center (BCC), have launched a pioneering initiative for the gastronomic tourism sector, with a global call for startups or companies, mature or emerging, technological and non-technological, with innovative ideas capable of revolutionizing and integrating gastronomy in tourism and inspiring tourists with new ways and reasons to travel.The gastronomic tourism sector is moving towards innovation and the diversification of its offerings. UNWTO, in collaboration with its Affiliated Member, Basque Culinary Center (BCC), has launched the 1st UNWTO Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition, the first and largest initiative in the world dedicated to identifying new companies that will lead the transformation of the gastronomic tourism sector.Intangible cultural heritage has become the decisive factor that attracts and captivates tourists. Gastronomy tourism, as a component and vehicle of culture and tradition, is an indispensable resource that adds value and provides solutions for destinations that seek to stand out through unique product offerings.The Competition will make it possible to identify the best solutions and projects that contribute the most to the sector through pioneering proposals in the implementation of emerging and disruptive technologies, as well as emerging companies or startups. It aims to identify challenges and projects, and to catalyse innovations that can transform the Gastronomy Tourism sector in the near future."Innovation and tourism investments are not ends in themselves, but are means to promote better tourism products, improve tourism governance and harness its proven capability to foster sustainability, create jobs and generate opportunities," said UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili."Education and innovation are essential for the development of sustainable gastronomic tourism. At Basque Culinary Center, we support entrepreneurship and the development of new business projects to ensure the future of the sector. In this regard, we are proud to once again team up with our partners at UNWTO in order to continue fostering entrepreneurship and innovation linked to gastronomy tourism through this initiative," said Joxe Mari Aizega, General Manager of Basque Culinary Center.UNWTO and Basque Culinary Center have entrusted the process of finding startups to BCC Innovation through its Culinary Action! programme, which has accelerated nearly 50 startups by providing innovative, sustainable and high added value solutions to the gastronomy value chain.Sustainability and technologyStartups are invited to pitch business models that are related to sustainability, respect the value chain, offer an authentic and coherent narrative, and add value to cultural and local heritage.The winners of this competition will have the opportunity to present their projects at the 5th World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism (2-3 May 2019, San Sebastian, Spain), with the possibility of receiving personalized consulting and mentoring from the BCC experts of project accelerator Culinary Action!Full information on the terms and conditions are available at https://www.gastronomytourismventures.org/.

First Global Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition Launched

UNWTO ·18 October 2018
The World Tourism Organization and Basque Culinary Center (BCC), have launched a pioneering initiative for the gastronomic tourism sector, with a global call for startups or companies, mature or emerging, technological and non-technological, with innovative ideas capable of revolutionizing and integrating gastronomy in tourism and inspiring tourists with new ways and reasons to travel.The gastronomic tourism sector is moving towards innovation and the diversification of its offerings. UNWTO, in collaboration with its Affiliated Member, Basque Culinary Center (BCC), has launched the 1st UNWTO Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition, the first and largest initiative in the world dedicated to identifying new companies that will lead the transformation of the gastronomic tourism sector.Intangible cultural heritage has become the decisive factor that attracts and captivates tourists. Gastronomy tourism, as a component and vehicle of culture and tradition, is an indispensable resource that adds value and provides solutions for destinations that seek to stand out through unique product offerings.The Competition will make it possible to identify the best solutions and projects that contribute the most to the sector through pioneering proposals in the implementation of emerging and disruptive technologies, as well as emerging companies or startups. It aims to identify challenges and projects, and to catalyse innovations that can transform the Gastronomy Tourism sector in the near future."Innovation and tourism investments are not ends in themselves, but are means to promote better tourism products, improve tourism governance and harness its proven capability to foster sustainability, create jobs and generate opportunities," said UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili."Education and innovation are essential for the development of sustainable gastronomic tourism. At Basque Culinary Center, we support entrepreneurship and the development of new business projects to ensure the future of the sector. In this regard, we are proud to once again team up with our partners at UNWTO in order to continue fostering entrepreneurship and innovation linked to gastronomy tourism through this initiative," said Joxe Mari Aizega, General Manager of Basque Culinary Center.UNWTO and Basque Culinary Center have entrusted the process of finding startups to BCC Innovation through its Culinary Action! programme, which has accelerated nearly 50 startups by providing innovative, sustainable and high added value solutions to the gastronomy value chain.

Creating Smart Cities for Innovative Tourism Experiences

UNWTO ·16 October 2018
The conference brought together tourism leaders from the public and private sectors to analyse how to respond to the growing trend of city breaks as leisure experiences. They concluded that public-private partnerships, the inclusion of local communities and the creation of smart destinations are crucial for urban destinations to gain the knowledge and define the policies they need in order to respond to the new demands of hyper-connected and hyper-informed tourists."We must understand the evolution of tourists towards greater sustainability and inclusiveness, using new technological tools," said Jaime Cabal, Deputy Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). "Creativity and innovation are needed when designing the experiences they are increasingly demanding."The Councillor for Culture and Tourism of Valladolid, Ana Maria Redondo, echoed this call, adding: "We need a better understanding of the fundamentals behind the current demand for city break experiences. Smart destination tools are our means to obtain this knowledge."The Deputy Director-General for Tourism Development and Sustainability of the Ministry of Tourism of Spain, Ruben Lopez Pulido, suggested that cities and all destinations change their models of tourism development to respond not only the most demanding tourists, but also to the rise of the digital and knowledge economy. "Being a smart destination is not just a label, but a process towards the comprehensive transformation of destinations, while always aiming at the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals," he said.Speakers at the conference included Dieter Hardt-Stremayr, President of European Cities Marketing and CEO of the Graz Tourism Office in Austria, who described what he considered key challenges for the growth of city breaks: transportation issues, seasonality, and the dispersion of tourism demand within a city and over time. "Our main challenge is to attract visitors to come right at this moment. To overcome it destination managers should focus on parts of the tourism offer that are 'temporary'," he concluded.The main conclusions of the conference referred to urban tourism governance models. Participants highlighted that, with the growth of high-speed, low-cost transportation links that provide more and more visitors with access to city breaks, city destinations must respond by prioritizing investments that benefit residents and tourists alike.They also concluded that with the technological advances that allow the creation of smart destinations, destination management organizations must shift their focus from only promoting the experiences available for tourists in cities, to managing urban tourism in all its complexity. For their part, tourism policy makers should use smart destination tools to study the impact of tourism on the profitability and sustainability of a city, and place the destination at the centre of policy changes. These conclusions will be taken into account in the UNWTO work plan on urban tourism.The Conference was organized by the UNWTO in collaboration with the City Council of Valladolid and the marketing agency MADISON, an Affiliate Member of the UNWTO. Other speakers included representatives from Madrid Destino, San Sebastian Turismo & Convention Bureau, Ljubljana Tourist Board, Turin Convention Bureau, Lisbon Tourism Observatory, Municipality of Alba lulia (Romania), Google, TripAdvisor, Basque Culinary Center, World Heritage Cities of Spain, AMFHORT, European Historical Association of Thermal Cities, Innova Tax Free, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Thinking Heads, Segittur, Civitatis, Authenticitys and Amadeus, as well as journalists Xavier Canalis of Hosteltur and Paco Nadal of El Viajero (El Pais newspaper).Useful links:Conference website and programmeUNWTO report: 'Overtourism'? Understanding and managing urban tourism growth beyond perceptions'UNWTO urban tourism website

International Tourism Maintains Strong Momentum - UNWTO reports

UNWTO ·10 October 2018
All world regions enjoyed robust growth in tourist arrivals in January-June 2018. The increase was fuelled by strong demand from major source markets, supported by an upswing in the global economy. It comes after record year-round growth of 7% in 2017."Today's release of international tourism data for the first half of 2018 serves as further proof of the sector's resilience and relentless growth trajectory. We continue to work with our many partners to translate this growth into better jobs, more benefits to societies, and more opportunities for sustainable livelihoods and destinations", said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.By region, Europe and Asia and the Pacific led growth with a 7% increase in arrivals each. Southern Mediterranean Europe and South-East Asia had the strongest results in these regions, both welcoming 9% more international tourists.The Middle East and Africa also recorded sound results with arrivals growing at 5% and 4%, respectively, according to still-limited information available for destinations in these regions. The Americas saw 3% growth in arrivals over the six-month period, driven by South America (+7%) and North America (+5%). The United States continued to fuel much growth in the region and beyond.On the demand side, France, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation all reported double-digit increases in outbound spending in Europe. India and the Republic of Korea drove growth in Asia and the Pacific, while the world's top source market China reported similar spending as in the same period last year.Looking aheadThe first half of the year accounts for about 45% of annual international tourist arrivals. The second half represents 55% as it is three days longer and includes the Northern Hemisphere high-season months of July and August.Against a strong first semester, growth prospects for the remainder of 2018 remain positive overall, though at a slower pace, according to the latest UNWTO Confidence Index survey. The Index value for May-August and expectations for September-December are somewhat lower than the Index value for January-April.Useful links:UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, October 2018 Edition (Excerpt)UNWTO World Tourism Barometer HomepageUNWTO World Tourism HighlightsInfographics

Digital Transformation & Innovation Take Spotlight on World Tourism Day 2018

UNWTO ·28 September 2018
World Tourism Day 2018 was observed in Budapest, Hungary yesterday (27 September 2018) with the official celebration focusing on the digital transformation in tourism, a World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) priority. The event examined how investment in new technology provides the sector with opportunities for innovation.Introducing a new seminar-based format, the official celebration provided crucial insights into the actors and initiatives leading the digital transformation of the tourism sector and aimed at providing participants with concrete and actionable objectives to take away.During the official celebration, the 20 semi-finalists of the 1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition gave pitches to investors and tourism leaders of their innovative projects with potential to disrupt the sector. They were selected from over 3000 applicants from 132 countries. The competition was launched by UNWTO and Spanish tourism leader Globalia to find projects that harness innovation and can change the way we travel."UNWTO is proud to have positioned, for the first time, tourism in the global innovation agenda - where it deserves to be because of its economic weight and importance. This is only possible by bringing the private and public sectors together in a meaningful way, and providing opportunities to share ideas, like we have done today", said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili to conclude the event.Mr. Pololikashvili was joined for the opening ceremony by Hungary's Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Csaba Domotor and Gloria Guevara, President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council, who emphasized the role of technological solutions such as biometric data capture in ensuring safe, seamless and sustainable travel.Key amongst the conference conclusions was that political support is central to putting tourism at the centre of the global innovation and digital agenda. The event harboured this sentiment, attracting the participation of ministers from several countries and high-level political representatives at all levels of government, from local to national, as well as tourism's main entrepreneurs, investors and innovators.Other World Tourism Day celebrations also took place worldwide today, helping to mark the 38th year the observance day that has taken place to give visibility to the tourism sector's role in international economic growth and development.Useful links:UNWTO World Tourism Day 2018 websiteWorld Tourism Day Trello Board1st UNWTO Tourism Startup CompetitionList of Semifinalists

Refreshed WTM Ministerial Summit to Tackle Innovation & Technology Investment

UNWTO ·24 September 2018
Investment in innovation and smart management for tourism will form the major theme of the Ministerial Summit of this year's World Travel Market, to be held in London, UK (6 November 2018). The 2018 Summit, a joint initiative of World Travel Market and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), will debut a revamped formatThis year's World Travel Market (WTM) will introduce a disruptive new format to the long-running UNWTO/WTM Ministerial Summit. With the private sector crucial in setting the tourism agenda, private sector leaders will be involved for the first time via a panel on investment in tourism technology. This will be followed by a round table of both ministers and private sector to discuss a way forward for tourism that includes stronger public-private partnerships and an agenda for the sector's digital transformation.The 2018 Summit will be hosted by CNN's Richard Quest, anchor of Quest Means Business. Developing an innovation ecosystem, data-driven decision making, digital destination branding, and the role of government and policy in smart tourism management are among the topics to be addressed this year.The Summit reflects on a hyper-connected and informed world where tourists are one click away from their next destination and share their interests and emotions in real-time - and where technological advances have an exponential impact on management efficiency and sustainability. It will expand its practical impact with a focus on creating and exchanging innovative ideas and partnerships that can boost investments in tourism technology.The Summit will continue the conversation on 'Tourism and the Digital Transformation' that is set to dominate proceedings for this year's World Tourism Day official celebration on Thursday 27 September. The event, to be held in Budapest, Hungary, will feature sessions on the role of innovation and technology in tourism development. It will also see the announcement of the semi-finalists of the 1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition, launched by UNWTO and Globalia to give visibility to tourism startups with innovative and disruptive ideas.Useful links:UNWTO/WTC Ministerial Summit websiteWorld Travel Market websiteUNWTO World Tourism Day website

New UNWTO Report Helps Cities Manage Impact of Tourism

UNWTO ·18 September 2018
A new World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) report aims to help manage growing urban tourism flows and their impact on cities and residents. 'Overtourism'? Understanding and managing urban tourism growth beyond perceptions', was launched today during the 7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism, in Seoul, Republic of Korea (16-19 September 2018).The report examines how to manage tourism in urban destinations to the benefit of visitors and residents alike. It proposes eleven strategies and 68 measures to help understand and manage visitor growth. The report is the result of collaboration between UNWTO, the Centre of Expertise Leisure, Tourism & Hospitality (CELTH), Breda University of Applied Sciencesm and the European Tourism Futures Institute (ETFI) of NHL Stenden University of Applied sciences.The recent growth of urban tourism requires the sector to ensure sustainable policies and practices that minimize adverse effects of tourism on the use of natural resources, infrastructure, mobility and congestion, as well as its socio-cultural impact. Increased reports of negative attitudes among local populations towards visitors, due to perceived overcrowding, noise and other issues, have led to the spread of terms such as 'overtourism' and 'tourismphobia' in the media."Governance is key. Addressing the challenges facing urban tourism today is a much more complex issue than is commonly recognized. We need to set a sustainable roadmap for urban tourism and place tourism in the wider urban agenda," said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. "We must also ensure local communities see and benefit from the positive aspects of tourism", he added.To better understand visitor management challenges in urban contexts, particularly the relationship between residents and visitors, the report includes an analysis of residents' perceptions towards tourism in eight European cities - Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Munich, Salzburg and Tallinn."There is no one-size-fits-all solution to deal with overtourism. Instead tourism needs to be part of a city-wide strategy for sustainable development", Dr. Ko Koens of the Centre of Expertise Leisure, Tourism & Hospitality (CELTH) and Breda University of Applied Sciences concludes. The report recommends a common strategic vision among all stakeholders involved, bringing residents and visitors together and adopting careful planning which respects the limits of capacity and the specificities of each destination. "The involvement and support of local residents is key in achieving sustainable tourism", Professor Albert Postma of CELTH and NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences explains. "Building shared responsibility amongst stakeholders directly or indirectly involved in tourism development is a key for ensuring long-term sustainability", involved researcher Bernadett Papp concludes.

Innovative City Experiences Can Help Broaden Tourism Benefits, Says UNWTO

UNWTO ·14 September 2018
The tourism sector's shift in focus towards innovation and experiences, and traveller demand for diverse and immediate experiences in cities, will underpin the discussions of the UNWTO Conference on City Breaks: Creating Innovative Experiences (15-16 October 2018) in Valladolid, Spain. Development of city breaks can enhance tourism's benefits on societies and the economy, which is at the core of UNWTO's mission.The conference, the first of its kind, will address different areas of specialization that can help urban destinations be successfully positioned for city break tourism. It will explore the range of innovative activities that cities can offer tourists, and focus on how innovation in technology, governance and partnerships can ignite public-private collaboration and generate opportunities along the entire tourism value chain.The conference will marry the importance of a sustainable urban tourism agenda with the ongoing discussion on innovation and digital transformation in tourism, which forms one of UNWTO's priorities. It will be held in Valladolid, a popular Spanish city destination committed to a tourism strategy that prioritizes adventure, wine and cultural tourism, amongst other areas.City tourism is one of the fastest growing segments worldwide, attracting tourists for both business and leisure and generating income that supports socio-economic and cultural development. Concurrently, around half of the world's population lives in urban areas and this figure will grow to 70% by 2050. To manage the pressures of population growth and of tourism growth, new technologies and innovation are needed to make cities more efficient, better planned and better managed.Consequently UNWTO is setting an urban tourism vision for 2030 that will help build cities for all: residents and visitors alike. As well as in Valladolid, this vision will come into focus at the 7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism (16-19 September 2018) in Seoul, Republic of Korea.Useful links:Conference website

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