Spain sets sights on becoming ‘global sustainability leader’

 Saturday, November 26, 2022 

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Spain is aiming to be one of the most sustainable countries in the world, according to the deputy director of the Spanish Tourist Office in the UK.

Pedro Medina revealed the country has invested €3.4 billion in projects to try and become “more digital and sustainable” at an event called Sustainability Summit on Thursday (November 24).

Many regions across Spain – including the Balearic Islands – have imposed a tourism tax to initially support tourism but increasingly monies raised were also funding environmental projects.

Speaking as part of a panel, Medina said the tourism tax in Balearic Islands, comprised of Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera, has funded 164 projects since it was introduced in 2016.

Next year almost 50% of the €139 million generated from Majorca’s tourism tax will be spent on environment projects.

Around €1.3 million is being set aside for what is defined as the experimental adaptation to climate change for the inhabitants of the Balearics, according to local reports.

Asked if Spain was aiming to be a sustainability leader, Medina said that their strategy is very focused on sustainability. They have a plan to transform the tourism industry in Spain.

They would like to become more digital and sustainable. They are investing €3.4 billion to transform the industry.

There is a plan to transform destinations and build more kilometres of cycling routes. There are a lot of initiatives.

Fellow panelist Esteban Delgado, chairman and technical director of environmental consultancy firm Preverisk Group, which is based in Majorca, said that most of the travel or tourism companies come from Spain and most of them are in Majorca.

However, Delgado agreed that the tourism industry was trailing behind other sectors in terms of how sustainable it was because there was “no data at all” to help create sustainable solutions.

Hotels  all over the world they know their general consumption of water but they do not know how to implement solutions to improve their water management, he said, adding the technology was available to collect that kind of data.

They’re pilots projects in Spain in the areas of water management where they have flow meters with sensors.

Megan Parkinson, head of sustainability at the Latin American Travel Association, who was also on the panel, said there was “a lot of green hushing” going on in countries in Latin America with countries not promoting their green projects enough.

She said that post-Covid a lot of the governments in Latin America are making real steps forward and there’s a real want to make change and they can see it across the board.

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