Bilbao, June 28th 2017. The research project “Carrying Capacity of Euskadi tourism destinations”, prepared by the research team of the Tourism Department of the University of Deusto, together with the in2destination team led by our CEO Nagore Espinosa, was presented at a press conference by Alfredo Retortillo, Minister of Tourism, Commerce and Consumption of the Basque Government. The minister stressed the importance of sustainability within our destination, the high value of this study as a first picture of  the current situation in Euskadi.

The study was carried out during 2016 on six Basque municipalities: Vitoria-Gasteiz, Laguardia, Donostia-San Sebastián, Zarautz, Bilbao and Gernika-Lumo. The methodology of the study focuses in five dimensions: governance, territory, economy, social and environmental, which are addressed through secondary sources and primary sources: interviews with neighbourhood associations, mayors, destination managers, environmental managers, etc. , and surveys to citizens and visitors.

Asunción Fernández Villarán Ara, Director of the Department of Tourism of Deusto University stressed the importance of the collaboration between the UD, in2destination and the Basque Government to undertake this study and the experience the university has in its more than 50 years training professionals of the sector.

Nagore Espinosa, reporting on the results of the study, said:

  • The main type of accommodation chosen by tourists in Euskadi is the hotel, followed by pensions and campings. Apartments are chosen by 14% of tourists.
  • The importance of measuring excursionists for a sustainable management.  Smaller municipalities, with less accommodation supply host a higher amount of excursionists. Province capitals have a more balanced level of tourists and excursionists.
  • 35% of tourists staying in Bilbao explore beyond the city, especially the Bizkaia Bridge, San Juan de Gaztelugatze, Urdaibai and Donosti. In addition, within the city tourists visit Artxanda 10%, 30% visit the Guggenheim (inside), 46% explore the Old Town and 29% the commercial area.
  • In Donostia, 28.7% explore outside of Donosti: mainly Zarautz, Getaria, Biarritz, Hondarribia, Bilbao for an average of four hours. Of those who stay in Donosti, 57% go to the Old Town, 53% spend time in the commercial area, 14% go up to Igeldo.
  • In Vitoria-Gasteiz, 38% choose to go outside of the city visit, especially Bilbao, Santander, Laguardia, Ullibarri and Donosti, using an average of 8 hours outside Gasteiz. Within Vitoria a clear focus is the historical center 59%, 67% visit the commercial streets of Dato and surroundings and 8.3% visit the green ring of Sailburua

In order to conduct part of this study we have used a solution developed by in2destination called in2GISflow, thanks to which we obtain heatmaps such as the ones below: