Arona has become the first municipality in the Canary Islands that obtains the Biosphere Sustainable Tourism Destination Certification awarded by the Responsible Tourism Institute (RTI), an organization linked to UNESCO and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). This certificate is a recognition of the quality, environmental sustainability and social responsibility of Arona as a tourist destination, an award for the work done by the tourism sector of this town in southern Tenerife and achieved through public-private partnerships.
The details of the certification and commitments made by Arona were presented today to the media at a meeting where the mayor, José Julián Mena; Councillor for Tourism, David Perez and the president of the Institute of Responsible Tourism, Tomás Azcarate participated.
Furthermore, they announced that Arona will host in April 2017 an international conference covered by the UNWTO and RTI within the framework of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Developmentin in which will be formulated and adopted the Declaration of Arona on Sustainable tourism and the first World Charter of Inclusive and Accessible tourism.
The Biosphere certification sets the strategic lines to follow for the present and future development of the tourist municipality of southern Tenerife, which becomes the first of the Canary Islands to engage in a firm and resolute commitment to comprehensive sustainability.
The mayor said that "today we can say that Arona takes a giant step, linking its development and economy values and criteria approved and ratified by the major global forums such as UNESCO, on fair and sustainable future development".
Social and economic aspects, as well as environmental, include actions that will set urban guidelines of training, innovation and business and entrepreneurs support, more communication and interaction between tourists and residents, protection and cataloging of heritage; "A whole roadmap with these international guarantees and in terms of security, forms of transport and clean urban and tourism mobility, the use of new technologies or waste management and awareness campaigns. But also we will carry out differente measurements of the carbon footprint in events, the implementation of a marketing plan and tourism strategy, table tourism, accessibility, digital tourism ".
In short, "we talk about endless measures that will turn the city into a sustainable model. To do this, we have acquired a number of commitments and we will audit annually to ensure compliance with this planning, "noted Mena.
He also recalled that "accessibility, one of the strengths of the municipality when assessing their candidacy to this Biosphere certification as a responsible destination, has been critical for the municipality to host the next World Conference on Sustainable Tourism and the First World declaration on Inclusive Tourism. "
The Councillor for Tourism, David Perez, assessed that "the commitments made marked a before and after in the economic and social model, with special emphasis on the tourism industry and that pretend to be the trademark of our government."
Thus, he stressed that this Biosphere certification as a sustainable and responsible tourist destination "goes beyond purely environmental issues or good intentions, it sets the guidelines to follow to develop a sustainable model, parameters that are already working in communities such as Catalonia and the Basque Country, that have been certified or are in the process of doing so. "
"Sustainable and environmental awareness is changing the trend of tourists, especially from central and northern Europe, when choosing their holiday destination. The percentage grows in a clear trend, those who value the involvement of destination and their companies on sustainability and environmental care. In Arona, H10 Hotels and Golf Americas already have this important certification, which is the only one in the world that certifies destinations as a whole, "he said.
Among the main strengths identified by the Responsible Tourism Institute to recognize Arona as a Sustainable Tourist Destination, are highlighted, first, "the brilliant effort made by the municipality to be a world leader in material accessibility". Arona, a member of the Network of Cities for Accessibility, has previously been awarded the Reina Sofía of Accessibility in 2009 and the European "Access City Award", among other mentions.
Similarly, different plans, projects and initiatives launched by the municipality have been valued, such as the Master Plan that includes the strategic tourism planning, made under the framework of sustainability for socio-cultural and economic development of Arona. Actions aimed at saving resources that have been carried out, both in the purchasing policy for the acquisition of equipment with greater energy efficiency, as well as in reducing their consumption are also distinguished. In addition, the innovative nature of the projects that are been developed in the town, in order to boost the current tourism offer, is certainly remarkable.
First World Charter for Inclusive and Accessible Tourism
But above all, it transcends the special involvement of the destination to reconvert into a sustainable destination, an effort that is intended to continue performing, as evidenced by the intention of the municipality to host and organize the next International Conference "Tourist Destinations and their Contribution to Sustainable Development", in which will be formulated and adopted the Declaration of Arona on Sustainable Tourism and the first World Charter for Inclusive and Accessible Tourism.
In this context and through the Biosphere certification, the firm commitment of the municipality is evidenced by the conversion to a more sustainable model of management that has the potential to develop a responsible tourism model that integrates its history, traditions and natural and cultural attractions. Also, it highlights the great involvement of all stakeholders who participated in the process and rewards the effort involved to carry out all these actions.
As a Certified Destination with Biosphere, Arona is committed to complying with the requirements for this recognition and submitted annually to an audit check.
Click here if you want more information on the Biosphere Sustainable Tourism Certification.