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Working Group of Experts on Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism – UNWTO

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Within the framework of the initiative Towards a Statistical Framework for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (MST) launched by UNWTO in 2017 and with the support of United Nations Statistics Division, the second meeting of the working group of experts on measuring the sustainability of tourism took place at UNWTO Headquarters (Madrid) on 24 and 25 October 2018.

Dr. Nagore Espinosa, in her double role as CEO of in2destination and INRouTe network expert and coordinator, is part of this group of experts whose aim is to develop an international statistical framework for measuring tourism’s role in sustainable development, including economic, environmental and social dimensions. In fact, measuring sustainable tourism naturally cuts across a range of disciplines and agencies. In advancing the MST statistical framework, an open Working Group of experts was established in order to lead the technical development and support engagement among these key stakeholders.

In this second meeting, numerous issues were addressed, such as employment, including the concept of Green Jobs and the implementation of its measurement, the linking of ecosystem accounting and the economic-environmental accounting system to measure the sustainability of tourism, measurement of social sustainability from the perspective of the residents, and of course the challenge of the different scales when measuring the sustainability of tourism: national, regional, local. The topics were treated based on experiences of regions or countries that are implementing it and share their knowledge as the Philippines, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Canada, Austria, France, Germany, Portugal, Italy and Argentina, among others.

After this meeting in which many topics were touched, now it’s time to review the advanced documentation again and make contributions from our respective areas of knowledge. From in2destination, it is particularly important to advance at the spatial scales, as well as in the social, territorial and governance measurement of sustainability. In our experience, if the governance dimension is weakened, the rest of the sustainability dimensions are affected. Achieving a common measurement framework for the sustainability of tourism is critical for tourism destinations and businesses in all parts of the world, to measure constantly and have early warning indicators of issues that are brewing and take preventive measures or redirect issues before they worsen.

There is still room for progress, but we are happy to be part of this group of experts, to continue to investigate and contribute.

Here you can expand information on the documentation that was used in the meeting.

Let’s keep measuring and making decisions based on data!!!

World Tourism Day 2018 – Tourism and digital transformation

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The tourism sector has experienced and continues to experience continuous growth until it becomes one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world, and, at present, it is finally recognized as a key engine of socioeconomic progress that benefits communities across the globe.

In fact, the World Tourism Organization confirms that, today, tourism represents 10% of world GDP, 7% of global trade and provides one in every 11 jobs worldwide. Likewise, the fact that more than 1.3 million people travel to other countries in just one year means that tourism has become a force for intercultural dialogue, social inclusion, peace and reconciliation and sustainable development (UNWTO, 2017).

As any other strong economic sector, tourism must be managed with an orderly, sustainable and innovative planning. And in order for this message to spread throughout society, managers of destinations and companies at a global-local level, the celebration of World Tourism Day is essential.

In fact, this was the case, at the request of the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), World Tourism Day was established in 1979, specifically on September 27. The date was chosen to promote awareness among the international community regarding the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value due to, on the one hand, coinciding with the anniversary of the approval of the UNWTO Statutes in the year 1970 and on the other, for being the time of the year in which tourism occupies a leading place in the activities of millions of people, given that the date coincides with the end of the peak travel season for the northern hemisphere and the beginning of it for the southern hemisphere.

The event has tried to contribute over the years to address the global challenges identified in the United Nations Development Goals for the Millennium (MDG) in 2000 and the current 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 and to influence the contribution that the tourism sector can make to achieve all the aforementioned objectives.

The World Tourism Day in 2018 will be celebrated by the international community in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, and the thematic focus of this year will be innovation and digital transformation. Therefore, this September 27, will try to help to highlight the opportunities for sustainable tourism development provided by technological advances.

Like every year, in2destination will join the celebration of World Tourism Day, but this time, it will do so with more enthusiasm than ever, if possible, given that the slogan ”Tourism and Digital Transformation” is closely linked to the company’s activity.

In2destination team is committed to digitalization and the incorporation of technological advances since we believe that it allows companies and destinations to make data-driven decisions for a more sustainable, inclusive and smarter tourism management.

At in2destination, we believe it is important to point out that innovation is not only technological, we also have to innovate to improve the inclusion of the growing senior population, of the diverse abilities collective, and of the LGBT + collective, among others, and non-technological innovations are required as well.

In this line, the in2destination team is committed to raising awareness of the importance of measuring to make an efficient use of resources, to be aware of the impacts that are generated and to take measures to move steadily and firmly towards sustainability and inclusion.

Happy World Tourism Day for all of us who belong to this exciting sector!

Let’s keep it up! 🙂

Contributing to the development of sustainable tourist destinations in Colombia by pivoting in measurement.

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Within the framework of the Cooperation for International Development ERICA programme (Spain and its regions exchange knowledge with Antioquia) transfer pilot project on sustainable tourist destinations is being executed in Jericó (Antioquia, Colombia) and in2destination has been the chosen Spanish counterpart as tourism experts. Between July 9 and 13th our CEO Nagore Espinosa has had a mission to Colombia, in particular to Medellín and to Jericó, this latter municipality has been the object of the pilot project.

In this mission the team formed by professionals from the University of Antioquia, EAFIT University and in2destination have deepened in the international standards in measurement of tourism to approach the strengthening of Jericó, so that both the public administration and the private sector of Jericó will continue to work toward sustainability. Currently, the municipality and numerous service providers are certified as sustainable under the rules of the Ministry of Tourism of Colombia and this project strengthens this commitment and opens the way to deepen in the measurement of sustainable tourism development at the local level and the creation of sustainable tourism products.

It is an enriching project for all parties involved, as we all contribute and learn, because of the multidisciplinary of the team: tourism, biology, anthropology, economists, and because the people involved from the territory show a great initiative, commitment, they are eager to learn, to contribute and more importantly to implement the lessons learnt.

Part of the project implies measuring, a task that could seem of low interest. However, from the beginning it has been understood as a critical action for the good of the destination, tourism businesses and the host community. Thus, for in2destination team it is a cooperation for development work in which we are very much invested and we feel fortunate to have been chosen.

in2destination within the Debate Forum “Sustainable Tourism in Mallorca”

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On May 31 took place the Forum of Debate “Sustainable Tourism in Mallorca“, organized by the Fundación Alternativas with the support of Fundació Mallorca Turisme and the Consell de Mallorca through infomallorca.net. From here we want to thank them for the deference they had for inviting us to be part of it.

in2destination was an integral part of the first round table, in which we discussed the concept of “Socially Responsible Tourism“, together with Aurora Pedro, PhD in Economics from the University of Valencia and professor of “tourism policy” at the university and with Joaquín Nieto, director of the International Labor Organization (ILO) of the United Nations for Spain.

We had the opportunity to discuss the relevance or not of the definitions of sustainability and how these definitions should also be transferred to the field of measurement. In addition, we insist on highlighting the current challenges that exist regarding the measurement of tourism, especially from a sustainable and environmental approach. We also stressed that our vision is that Big Data is not the end, but the means to answer the questions that the sector poses as key issues, and not all are susceptible to be answered with Big Data, some need official statistics, records, interviews and other methodologies.

In the second round table, focused on the challenges and opportunities of tourism in Mallorca (and, by extension, in the rest of the islands), it was debated whether it is a destination that suffers intensity or saturation. The answers were in the way that this intensity is perceived and, therefore, it has to be managed, but that there was no deep saturation. Even so, it was clear that a debate is needed on how to face the growth of tourism in the destination, if it is appropriate to put a stop to it and if the Palma airport has reached its maximum capacity.

The conclusions reached by those present were in line with the importance of the role of governance in the decision-making process of consensus, the importance of measurement, the subsequent intelligent use of the data obtained and the need to respect the residents.

Fundación Alternativas highlighted the work they carried out for Gipuzkoa (work in which in2destination was also part of) with the objective of deepening the challenges in which to work. Thus, it was reported how the Government of Gipuzkoa has already begun to work with a greater development in depth of the Tourist Observatory of Gipuzkoa and with specific actions with subsidies and aid aimed at strengthening the sector.

The final message in2destination wants to underline is that real actions can be launched after an in-depth study of each case.

We are grateful, once again, for being able to participate in this enriching debate and we also thank the audience, as it was very participative with reflections and questions to which the panelists try to respond.

Highlighting the importance of measurement before students of Deusto University

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On December 1, 2017, the Department of Tourism of the University of Deusto together with the Department of Tourism of the Basque Government celebrated the San Francisco Javier Conference once again, this time on the San Sebastian campus. The title of the day was THE IMPORTANCE OF MEASUREMENT IN TOURISM, an issue without doubt extremely relevant if destinations and companies are committed to developing sustainable tourism.


Precisely in this line the President of SEGITTUR, Fernando de Pablo, gave a keynote address on Smart Tourist Destinations and measurement of tourism. The importance of data management. Within the concept of Intelligent Destinations that SEGITTUR has been advocating for years, sustainability is included and data-driven decision-making is defended, not only traditional sources but also intelligence systems fed from unstructured data sources that are generated at high speed (BIG DATA). Likewise, De Pablo called attention to the caution that must be had with obtaining them, the privacy and sustainability of the variables that they want to collect, that is to have such data in a stable manner.

Likewise, in the round table that took place after the break moderated by our CEO, Nagore Espinosa, the importance of measuring the impact of events was discussed. The session had a great list of professionals:

• Mikel Huarte. Fly Group Net
• Iñigo Argomaniz. Get In
• Fernando Ibarreta. Behobia- San Sebastián
• Mario Goffard. Bilbao Exhibition Center (BEC)

Within this debate the importance of making rigorous measurements that can be undertaken every year to know the evolution of events, taking into account variables beyond the number of participants, and economic return, especially values of environmental sustainability were highlighted and the feeling of residents. Both the specific events and those that recur, as indicated by the participants, have been evolving towards greater sustainability, especially because the audience demands it, therefore the brands are aware and the producers undertake it under said principles. The measurement was evident that it is an intrinsic part of this business, both to know the viability of the projects, as well as to obtain sponsors, as well as the communication and search for the loyalty of the audience that, at the same time, forces us to evolve and advance in new methods for events and therefore new ways of measuring and incorporating more variables.

The conference was attended by the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Commerce of the Basque Government, Isabel Muela, the Dean of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the University of Deusto, Eduardo Javier Ruiz Vieytez and the Director of the Department of Tourism of the University from Deusto, Asunción Fernandez Villarán Ara. And an important moment of the day, was when the prizes were awarded to the best final projects of both campuses, to best interships and recognized the tutors of the companies that have hosted such students. It is a beautiful recognition to students who stand out in their study of different perspectives of the tourism sector and the performance in the real environment of companies and institutions.


Thank you very much for counting on us for this new edition, the
in2destination team is always excited to contribute to provoke reflection among the new generations of tourism professionals

in2destination calling to action at MOVE2017: let´s measure, communicate and manage sustainably!

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The fifth edition of the International Conference on Measurement and Economic Analysis of Tourism at the Subnational Level – MOVE was held on November 22, 23 and 24 in Pamplona Navarra. The Government of Navarre, immersed in the implementation of its strategic plan with a clear focus on sustainability and in making decisions based on data, organized MOVE. For this, it has had the contribution of in2destination in the design of the program and in the leadership of the scientific committee, with INRouTe network that created these conferences to advance in a framework of recommendations on measurement of tourism at subnational levels and with the participation of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
MOVE2017 had an official welcome at the opening by Manu Ayerdi Olaizola, Vice President of Economic Development of the Government of Navarra. The Vice President expressed the commitment of his government to turn Navarra into a territory with a sustainable and intelligent tourism development, as evidenced by the allocations assigned to this sector in the preliminary draft of the General Budgets of Navarre for 2018, presented at a press conference to early that week.
Likewise, they also took part in the official welcome Maitena Ezkutari, (General Director of Tourism and Commerce of the Government of Navarra), who highlighted the commitment of Navarra to advance in a sustainable, innovative and inclusive tourism development, making decisions based on data, Márcio Favilla, (Executive Director of Operational Programs and International Relations at the United Nations World Tourism Organization) recalled that although this year (IYSTD) is coming to an end, we must continue working for sustainable tourism, the only possible one, Antonio Massieu, (President of INRouTe), who pointed out the importance of having common guidelines for an effective measurement system at subnational levels, Dr. Nagore Espinosa, (CEO of in2destination), called to action, so that all attendees and speakers begin to apply what was discussed in the conference “to truly take steps towards sustainable tourism, collaborate, invest in measuring and communicate”.
MOVE2017 was divided into 7 sessions during the 3 days in which it was held, each session with a main thematic axis:
– Session 1: Advancing Subnational Tourism Measurement from Official Statistics
– Session 2: Notable Subnational Case Studies that advance subnational measurement of tourism beyond official statistics
– Session 3: How to contribute to the achievement of SDG 2030 from a subnational perspective?
– Session 4: From Turismophobia to Adequate Compression of Tourism Impacts
– Session 5: Pioneers of a complex management of sustainable tourism
– Session 6: Environmental Perspective: Measurement of Tourism Sustainability at subnational level
– Session 7: Sustainable, Inclusive and Innovative Entrepreneurship in Tourism
Throughout all of them there have been coinciding messages appealing to the public and private sector at various levels to collaborate closely, to measure to use that measurement in decisions.
QUOTES from MOVE2017:
Marcio Favilla, Executive Director of Operational Programs and International Relations at the United Nations World Tourism Organization. “We need to measure to be able to manage sustainably”

Terry Stevens Director of Stevens & Associates, United Kingdom. “Life is like a parachute, it only makes sense when it is open, open your minds, measure what you want to be in the future”

Calvin Jones, Professor at Cardiff Business School, Wales. “We should not forget to link the analyzes that are made of tourism with territorial development, with studying the efficiency and added value of local companies, compared to companies from outside the territory”
Juan Requejo. Director of Technical Assistance Clave, Spain. On the exponential growth of tourist housing: “Why do we call it tourism when we want to say real estate promotion?”
Mara Manente, Director of CISET, Italy. “We need to diversify the offer, manage flows beyond the center, now Venice itself is the biggest competitor of museums and other resources of the city and region”
Oscar Perelli. Research Manager in Exceltur, Spain. “It is essential that measurement is incorporated into the decision-making process”
In short, they were very intense but very fruitful days, thanks to all the attendees and speakers who contributed to very interesting discussions, we hope to see you in the next edition, MOVE2019.
If you are interested in seeing the videos of the different speakers, the photos of the event, reading the papers accepted and presented and the conclusions of the event, we encourage you to visit the resources section of the MOVE2017 website here. The conclusions and videos are still in issue in coming days will be available.

Co-Authors of “Sustainable Tourism in Gipuzkoa: Challenges and opportunities”

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On November 21, 2017 the work “Sustainable Tourism in Gipuzkoa: Challenges and opportunities” was presented.

Denis Itxaso, Member of Culture and Tourism of Gipuzkoa, Nicolás Sartorious, President of the Alternativas Foundation, José Ignacio Asensio, Member of the Environment of Gipuzkoa and Ana Belén Sanchez, Fundación Alternativas presented this report on sustainability at a press conference in San Sebastian tourism.

Nagore Espinosa, Carlota Cazalla and Juana Peña of the in2destination team have participated as authors of the report together with the research team of the Department of Tourism of the University of Deusto, as well as Susana Conde, Manuela Escribano and María Isabel Pereda. The report, has not yet been published, and has been coordinated by Ana Belén Sanchez.

The in2destination team has led the writing of two full chapters: the first one on economic and environmental indicators of tourism in Gipuzkoa, highlighting limitations that still exist today to have a clear vision of the tourism happening in our territories. Both the international community has to advance in standards of measurement and at subnational levels it is necessary to invest in a greater disaggregation of the data. The second chapter on the regulation and guidelines on sustainable tourism that exist, from the international to the local level, highlighting the importance of being transparent about their degree of implementation.

On the other hand, Nagore Espinosa was also part of the team that developed the chapter on Social Load Capacity, in collaboration with Asunción Fernández Villarán, Marina Abad and Ana Goytia of the University of Deusto, analyzing the perception of residents regarding tourism of 10 municipalities in Gipuzkoa.

We are very happy to have been part of this document and we hope it will help the reflection, to be optimistic because Gipuzkoa starts from a very good position and also to take measures wherever they may be needed. The important thing about these publications is that they are used.

Many thanks to Fundación Alternativas and the Diputación de Gipuzkoa for having us.

Fast forward to Aste Nagusia – Festivities in all three Basque capitals Let´s check out average prices and availability for key dates!

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Vitoria – Gasteiz, Donostia – San Sebastian and Bilbao are preparing their main festivities Aste Nagusia and we at in2destination have decided to use our own in2pricing solution in order to analyze average price and availability for entire homes and hotels for the key dates of each festivity, as they do not happen at the same time, so that you can enjoy them all!

Vitoria – Gasteiz has been analyzed for August 4th as the tipping point of Aste Nagusia. Data collected in July 17th shows a 30% availability of airbnb entire homes with capacity for two people and its average price is 78 € similar to one star hotels. Moreover, the cheapest average price is offered for airbnb private rooms and the most expensive for booking four-star hotels. 

Donosti – San Sebastian has been analyzed for August 12th, as the big day of Donostia´s Aste Nagusia, also collecting data on July 17th. The cheapest average price for that date is offered for one star hotels and the most expensive is for five star hotels. Airbnb entire homes, with capacity for two people, are offered at a rate in between two and three star hotels and the 40% of them are available.

Finally, Bilbao focus is on August 25th. The cheapest average price is offered for private rooms and the most expensive for five-star hotels (lower rate than Donosti).  Airbnb entire homes with capacity for two people are offered at a slightly lower rate than two star hotels and 52% of them were available on July 17th.

It should be noted that regarding availability each destination has been looked at with less or more time in advance, which clearly affects its availability rates.

in2destination is proud of the impact these weeks have on hotel occupancy of our Basque region, we hope around 100% occupancy rate is reached.

Aste Nagusia of each and every one of the three Basque capitals is very popular among us residents for six or seven days in a row festivities but also, each year, it is gaining more and more attention from visitors.  If you are on holidays those weeks do not hesitate to come to Vitoria, Donostia, Bilbao. 

GISflow by in2destination

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GISflow_ManhattanGISFLOW_coverOne of the tourism sector’s greatest challenges is being able to know the distribution of the tourism activity in the territory. in2destination has developed a system and a methodology named GISflow, which allows matching profile data, including per day expenditure, with mobility patters in the territory. The following images showcase tests conducted by in2destination in Old San Juan (Puerto Rico) and the City of New York in November 2015 and May 2016 respectively. This methodology allows zooming up to street level and analyze streets, areas, neighbourhoods visited most by clusters of visitor profiles, as well as studying whether certain profiles explore beyond the municipality where they are overnighting. This facilitates studying whether those assumed as core destinations are benefiting neighbouring territory as part of the county, province or island.