Miguel Sanz stressed that countries need to be consistent around sustainable tourism standards for “everyone’s benefit” as he was speaking to TTG on Spain’s inaugural Sustainability Day on Wednesday (26 April).
“Tourism occurs internationally, across borders, from country-to-country, continent-to-continent, and I think this an area where we have to collaborate in a way that maybe we haven’t collaborated before in the international sphere,” he added. “Tourism happens internationally, across borders, from country-to-country, continent-to-continent.”
“It’s like when the pandemic restrictions came, and every country had its own set of rules, which made it difficult to return to normalcy and travel during the pandemic because there wasn’t enough harmony and coordination.”
Sanz stated that the countries of Europe are cooperating under the auspices of the European Travel Commission (ETC) to establish common sustainability standards with the purpose of assisting consumers in making well-informed decisions regarding their vacations.
The general director of the Spanish Tourist Office has urged global tourism organizations to collaborate to create sustainable tourism standards and communicate.
British tourists spent 4% more in Spain in the first two months of 2023 than in 2019.
Spain, which he continued to describe as “the world’s favorite destination,” ought to be “leading the way” when it comes to the process of decarbonization for the tourism industry.
“For instance, everyone would be surprised if say, Germany wasn’t leading the way in innovation in the car industry,” he continued, “given that Germany is one of the largest economies for vehicle manufacturing.”
Spain welcomed 83 million tourists from other countries in 2019, and Sanz predicts that by the end of 2023, the country’s tourist numbers would be close to, if not even higher than, that number.
“There is a market for things that are environmentally friendly. Produce grown locally and the cuisine prepared there have a value all their own, and tourists are beginning to appreciate this value more and more.
Sanz noted that Spain now chooses to assess the value of tourists and the number of jobs they are producing rather than the number of tourists coming into the country. This is because tourism is such a significant driver of the Spanish economy.