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The Basque Government to host the World Summit on Sustainable Tourism (ST+20) attended by international experts in Vitoria-Gasteiz on 26 and 27 November

2015 October 15
  • Itziar Epalza, the Basque Government's Deputy Minister for Trade and Tourism, and Arantza Madariaga, the General Manager of the Basque Tourism Agency-Basquetour, took part in the presentation of ST+20 in Madrid this morning.
  • The main world experts on sustainable tourism will gather in the Basque Country on 26 and 27 November to give a new meaning to the Charter for Sustainable Tourism and to create new alliances around an ever-evolving sector.
  • The Basque Country's commitment to being certified as a sustainable tourist destination is part of the Basque Tourism Strategic Plan 2020, as the sustainable development of a destination enhances its competitiveness.

The Basque Country, with the Basque Tourism Agency (Basquetour), is organising,  together with the Responsible Tourism Institute (ITR) and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council  (GSTC) and the support of  UNESCO and the UNWTO, the World Tourism Summit to be held in Vitoria-Gasteiz on 26 and 27 November and which marks 20 years' work in this field.

The World Charter for Sustainable Tourism was adopted at the first conference held in 1995.  Twenty years later, the ST+20 Summit will bring back together the main actors of sustainable tourism to reflect and given a new meaning to the Carter for Sustainable Tourism and to create new alliances around an ever-evolving sector.

ST+20 is also an opportunity to  highlight and share the best practices and success stories on the field of sustainable tourism, and in this regard,  the Basque Government’s Deputy Minister, Itziar Epalza, stressed that “the Basque Country, a destination that has always been linked to quality and excellence, is now also taking real steps to be a sustainable destination":

During the presentation, held for specialist press and sector in Madrid this morning, Epalza recalled that the Basque Government had earlier this year signed a memorandum of understand to launch in the Basque Country the “Biosphere Responsible Tourism Destination” certification model, under the aegis of the UNESCO’s ITR and the UNWTO’s GSTC, and which accredits such certifications worldwide.

The Basque Country's commitment to being certified as a sustainable tourist destination is part of the Basque Tourism Strategic Plan 2020, as the sustainable development of a destination enhances its competitiveness.

According to the World Tourism Organisation-UNWTO, “sustainable tourist development is seen as a way to managing all resources in such a way that aesthetic, social and economic needs can be met, while respecting cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and  life-sustaining systems". Therefore, this type of tourism involves implementing sustainable activities with a focus on a triple return: environmental, economic and socio-cultural.

In this regard, a sustainable tourist destination is one that has taken an integrated planning and management approach to the whole tourist system, so that the present and future institutional, environmental, socio-cultural and economic needs are covered.  Integral human development is thus achieved that guarantees the role of tourism as a factor for its future attainment and providing tourists with a high degree of satisfaction with their experience, while making them more aware of the problems of sustainable development and fostering sustainable tourist practices. 

The final objective of all these policy lines is to generate a framework of action that guarantees the sustainability of the sector as a generator of wealth and employment for the Basque Country. 

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Politicians attending the event
(X term 2012 - 2016)