Mayor Toni Pérez defends at the opening of this meeting that good data management is “vital to differentiate ourselves and move forward”
The 'Smart Tourism Forum' analyzes in Benidorm the use of data to promote the sustainability of the destination
The forum is organized within the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the European Union
This Thursday, Benidorm City Council hosts the celebration of the 'Tourism Intelligence and Data Forum, keys to sustainability', organized by Segittur and the European Commission within the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The event brings together managers, destinations, and representatives of the tourism sector in the city, both from Spain and from other EU countries, to address new tools for the use and management of data and how they can influence when it comes to achieving more sustainable destinations.
The mayor of Benidorm, Toni Pérez, participated in the inauguration of this forum, together with the president of Segittur, Enrique Martínez; the regional secretary of Tourism of the Generalitat Valenciana, Cristina Moreno; and the director general of the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission, Hubert Gambs. During his appearance, the first mayor reminded all attendees that Benidorm is not only “the place of happiness for millions of Spaniards and Europeans who visit us every year”, but also represents the first tourist destination in the world that obtained, In 2018, the smart tourist destination certification according to UNE 178501 regulations.
Likewise, Toni Pérez explained how the city has been working "since the spring of 2015, when we set the DTI goal, with conviction based on meticulous analysis and interpretation of data." After this, he defended the importance of knowing how to use this data well for decision-making: “Having data is simply having the raw material to generate valuable information. The crucial thing is to be able to analyze and interpret this data, to make it useful so that it informs and improves our decisions," said Pérez, for whom "experience in the aggregation, normalization, and structuring of data is vital to obtain the information that allows us to differentiate ourselves and move forward.”
The mayor of Benidorm has exposed some characteristics of this city to account for its resilience. Among them, its ability to multiply its population almost sevenfold at times of maximum occupancy; the care and respect for the land and the environment that it has professed since the approval of the first General Plan in 1956; the generation of almost 60,000 tourism jobs and 90,000 regulated tourist beds; or efficient water management, having managed to reduce consumption by 18% in the last 25 years, despite the increase in population and tourist occupation. “These achievements are a reflection of our determination and confidence in the Benidorm destination, of preferential attention to innovation, technology, and, above all, the application of intelligence to the management, analysis, and interpretation of data,” he explained. “But in Benidorm, we are not satisfied with maintaining what we have; “We aspire to improve.”
Finally, the mayor has expressed his commitment to “comprehensive sustainability, tourist regeneration, and the circular economy”, three factors for which the use and management of data, and artificial intelligence, “are going to be essential for increasing sustainability in all its dimensions: economic, social, environmental and technological.”
In addition to the mayor of Benidorm, other prominent figures in the field of tourism also participated in the opening ceremony. The president of Seggitur, Enrique Martínez, did so on behalf of the Secretary of State for Tourism, Rosana Morillo, who could not attend because she was in Brussels. On behalf of Morillo, the president of Segittur has considered “it is essential that the EU maintains its agenda to promote tourism development, especially after the pandemic” and has drawn attention to some of the challenges posed to the sector, including those related to climate and Agenda 2023.
The regional Secretary of Tourism, Cristina Moreno, recalled the premise that “what is not measured cannot be managed” to explain that in the Valencian Community, there are 103 destinations attached to the Smart Destinations Network and announce that within One month the new tourism intelligence system promoted by the Generalitat, through Invattur, will begin to operate, with the aim of "improving the competitiveness of our destinations and our tourism offer."
For his part, the Director General of the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission, Hubert Gambs, has defended that data is “a key instrument for tourism” and that the European Union must have among its priorities “ facilitate access to data and open it as much as possible to citizens, both due to its importance for tourism and other sectors of the economy.”
In this sense, Gambs has advocated “creating a single European data space, where information can circulate across borders.”
During the celebration of this 'Tourism Intelligence and Data Forum, keys to sustainability' there will be different presentations and round tables, in which, among others, Natalia Bayona, executive director of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), participates; Leire Bilbao, manager of Visit Benidorm; Aroa Jilete, director of Tourism and Hospitality of the Basque Government; José Marcial Rodríguez, Minister of Tourism of the Consell de Mallorca; Eszter Csizmadia, Head of Strategic Research, Hungarian Tourism Agency; Sergio Guerreiro, Senior Director of Knowledge, Management and Innovation, Tourism of Portugal; or Jorge Rubio, deputy deputy director of Knowledge and Tourism Studies at Turespaña, among many others. Félix de Paz, Deputy Director General of Tourism Cooperation and Competitiveness of the Secretary of State for Tourism, is scheduled to participate in the closing ceremony.