On The Road to Sustainable Destinations

Have you noticed that on the slides describing great things about Barcelona on the Aerobus TV screens, they mention sustainability? I definitely have. Barcelona claims to be a sustainable city, and it is the first city in the world to gain Biosphere accreditation as a sustainable tourist destination! Wow!

There is much to cover when discussing whether a city is sustainable; from its economics to its environmental policies and the list goes on. However, one way to start verifying this is to look more closely at a city’s biggest industries! The tourism industry is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in Barcelona. Since tourism is such a big part of Barcelona’s economy, there is no surprise that it’s one of the focuses for Barcelona’s stride to become more sustainable. At th 7th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations, which took place in Barcelona in 2013, a 10 year plan was announced: The Citizen Commitmentto Sustainability 2012-2022.

This plan has not only the interest of the planet in mind, but the interest of the tourism sector as well. According to them (& I couldn’t agree more), transforming Barcelona into a green city will attract more tourists! All over the world, the theme of sustainability, climate change and the environment is becoming increasingly important to the general educated population.

The Citizen Commitment to Sustainability 2012-2022 has 10 goals, which are presented below:



You can see that they cover things from environmental cleanliness to accessibility and even education! This being said, Barcelona is on the Top 100 Sustainable Destinations List, but only scores a 3/10 in the “Nature” category and a 5/10 in the “Environmental Quality” category. How can it be? With the free walking tours, the easy rental bicycles all around the city… Unfortunately, though these initiatives are great, it is simply not enough to improve the overall environment of a metropolitan city like Barcelona. The tourism industry scores points though! What can the locals and tourists of Barcelona do more though? Read our blog post about Barcelona becoming a vegetarian city! If your serious about environmental sustainability, you must know that the agricultural industry is the most destructive of all – so watch what you eat!

When you decide to travel, do you think about whether it’s a sustainable city to be a tourist in?