Visa and Turisme de Barcelona join forces to promote sustainability in Barcelona's restaurants

Both entities are working on a pilot project to help restaurants in the city apply more sustainable practices.

Visa, the world leader in digital payments, has announced an agreement with Turisme de Barcelona, to encourage them to apply more sustainable measures to restaurants in the city of Barcelona, one of the most visited capitals with the greatest international projection in the field of gastronomy and restaurants in the world.

The agreement was announced at FITUR at a meeting that brought together the Deputy Mayor of the Barcelona City Council, Jordi Valls; the Director General of Tourism of Barcelona, Mateu Hernández; the Head of Visa Merchants and Acceptance in Southern Europe, Roble Dorronsoro, together with the President of the Barcelona Restaurant Association, Salvador Vendrell, and the Secretary General of ITR, Patricio Azcárate. During the meeting, they reiterated their commitment to the need to advance sustainability and best practices in restaurants through an initiative that identifies excellence in accordance with the standards defined in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Thus, the agreement between Visa and Turisme de Barcelona seeks to help local restaurants respond to the challenge of sustainability and better adapt to the demands of those who visit Barcelona in terms of sustainability. According to Visa's Global Travel Intentions Study 2023, 87% of tourists intending to visit Spain in the coming months see sustainable tourism options as attractive, and 33% of tourists would be willing to pay an additional 10% for more sustainable services, according to data from the Barcelona Turisme observatory.

In this initial phase, a pilot project will be carried out with 30 restaurants in the capital, which will be offered recommendations adapted to each business in order to acquire more sustainable practices. The collaboration of the Responsible Tourism Institute (ITR) has been key to the development of the project, developing the methodology and the 12 attributes of sustainability for the sector, being themselves the ones who will evaluate the pilot phase, as well as the result and compliance with the attributes. These attributes, proposed by ITR in accordance with its BIOSPHERE tourism sustainability certification model, designed to help establishments comply with international sustainability requirements, are based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the 169 targets agreed by the United Nations and will be aimed at facilitating changes, efforts and improvements in their operations and processes that will have a positive impact on their business, people and the planet.

According to Roble Dorronsoro, Head of Merchants and Acceptance at Visa in Southern Europe: "Tourists are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious when choosing the destination they will visit or where they will choose to consume, so it is essential that local commerce is prepared to offer sustainable and optimal experiences. In this context, we are working to drive sustainable commerce with our customers and partners and supporting SMEs in their digitization, where Visa has helped more than 50 million SMEs worldwide, 8 million across Europe, since 2020."

On behalf of Barcelona Tourism, Josep Maria Gómez, director of the sustainability area, confirms the commitment to promote a more sustainable tourism and for this "we have launched a project supported by Visa, for the creation of the guide to Sustainable Restaurants in Barcelona, Barcelona Sustainable Gastronomy. This guide will be the international reference to identify and support, with a campaign abroad, those restaurants that stand out as sustainable consumption options in Barcelona". Barcelona's gastronomic offer stands out for its quality worldwide so "with this project we want to recognize this reality and promote the adoption of good practices in the restaurant sector that improve the positive impact on society and the environment, improving competitiveness, profitability and positioning and communicating to customers around the world the efforts made".

In the words of the President of the Responsible Tourism Institute, Dr. Tomás de Azcárate Bang, "the support of the Barcelona destination to promote more sustainable tourism models continues at the forefront. From the RTI, we are confident in the positive projection of this project, and all the efforts carried out in the Biosphere methodology, will be approached from a global vision for its international translation, in search of more sustainable gastronomies of the world. Undoubtedly, betting on locating the pilot of this new formula of more responsible gastronomic tourism in Barcelona is a wise decision, given the involvement of restaurants and the value of gastronomy for the destination sector."

Gastronomy and sustainability, key ingredients of tourism

The Global Travel Intentions Study 2023 conducted by Visa, which analyzes the preferences of international tourists who intend to visit our country in the next 12 months, shows that one of the main attractions for 88% is the enjoyment of gastronomy, with the most common dining options being daily meals in restaurants and cafes (66%) and haute cuisine restaurants (31%). In fact, data from the Visa network (VisaNet) highlights the importance of dining for international tourists, as those who have visited Barcelona in the last 12 months have spent 27% of their total expenditure on dining, the category in which they spent the most.

Likewise, the aforementioned study shows an increasing environmental awareness when traveling, with 87% of those surveyed stating that affordable eco-sustainable tourism would be attractive to them and they would choose it if it were available at similar or even more affordable price levels than other alternatives.