The winners of the first join ETIS and Accessible Tourism Awards were announced on April 22 as ‘Visit South Sardinia’ and Barcelona Province. The new awards recognise outstanding achievements amongst destinations that took part in a two-year European Tourism Indicators System (ETIS) pilot project. A video of the award ceremony can be watched here and videos of the individual winners projects can be viewed here.
‘Visit South Sardinia’ was overall winner for sustainability thanks to its innovative approach combining EU and UN sustainability indicators, while Barcelona Province won the top accessibility prize for its ‘Tourism for All’ approach.Other prize winners included Mali Lošinj in Croatia, which won the ETIS Economic Value Achiever award for the breadth and depth of insights gathered on sustainable tourism practices on the island. Brittany, Destination Brocéliande in France, won the ETIS Environmental Impact Achiever award for its work developing a green tourism offer in the legendary forest region.
Luigi Cabrini, Chair of the UNWTO’s Global Sustainable Tourism Council and keynote speaker at the ceremony, says: “ETIS is about creating clear standards that help us define what sustainable tourism actually means in a measurable way. These winning destinations have made tourism work for local communities and visitors alike, delivering financial and cultural benefits while minimising negative social and environmental impacts.”
Four destinations were awarded 2** as ETIS Social and Cultural Impact Achievers: Dark Sky Alqueva in Portugal for its light pollution free zone and unique ‘night sky’ stargazing offer; Torroella de Montgri-l’Estartit and Llancà in Spain for balancing economic development with sustainable coastal tourism; Ljubljana in Slovenia for its ‘Slovenia Green’ certification label for hotels and tourism spots; and Comunitat Valenciana in Spain for its achievements in improving access for tourists with disabilities.
1* went to two Environmental Impact Achievers, Podgorica in Montenegro for its long-term commitment to sustainable tourism, and Abano Terme in Italy, which combines its reputation as one of Europe’s oldest spa towns with a green tourism approach, attracting visitors that want to alternate from the city-break destination of Venice. Andalucía in Spain and South Limburg in the Netherlands received a special mention for sustainable destination management and accessibility improvements.
Jesús Hernandez-Galán, Director of Universal Accessibility and Innovation at the ONCE Foundation and ETIS jury member says: “Making holidays accessible to all is not just about the independence, dignity, and comfort of people with disabilities, it’s about building a more inclusive and diverse society that benefits and enriches us all. Accessibility indicators make clear what this means in a practical way – from public transport to accessible information – and today’s winners are already reaping the rewards of their hard work in this area.”
A new 2016 ETIS toolkit was launched at the awards ceremony – it employs 43 core indicators and a set of supplementary indicators, and is available in all official EU languages to enable European destinations to monitor, measure and improve sustainable tourism practices.