The World Tourism Organization and the Catalan Tourist Office of the Government of Catalonia launch the first World Sports Tourism Congress
The Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, and the Minister of Business and Labor of the Government of Catalonia, Roger Torrent, presented the First World Sports Tourism Congress and its program, as part of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, during a press conference held in Lloret de Mar and Barcelona.
The Congress, which had previously had to be postponed due to the pandemic, will take place on November 25 and 26 at the Olympic Conference Center in the Catalan city of Lloret de Mar. The presentation was attended by Marta Domènech, Director General of Tourism, Ion Vilcu, Director of the Affiliate Membership Department of UNWTO, Narcís Ferrer, Director of the Catalan Tourist Office, and Jaume Dulsat, Mayor of Lloret de Mar.
The Congress will have a total of 62 speakers from different countries such as the United States, Canada, France, Wales, Northern Ireland and Croatia. Personalities from the world of sport and tourism, representing entities that are also affiliate members of the UNWTO, have already confirmed their presence as speakers, such as Petra Stusek, President and CEO of European Cities Marketing; Kattia Juarez Dubón from the International Motorcycling Federation; Edwin Moses, Olympic medalist; Marco Mazzi, Vice-President of the International Association of Sports Travel Agencies, and Mafalda Magalhaes, Director of the FC Porto Museum.
Registration is now open at https://worldsportstourismcongress.org. The Congress will be a hybrid event, allowing both in-person and virtual participation, and aims to strengthen the relationship between sport tourism and sustainable and inclusive development, diversification, differentiation and seasonal adjustment. The Costa Brava Girona Tourist Office and Lloret de Mar Town Hall through Lloret Turismo also collaborate in the organization of the event.
The Congress, which already had nearly 400 pre-registered participants before registration officially opens, will address topics such as challenges for the industry posed by COVID-19; trends in sport and physical activity; innovation in the development of sports tourism; mass participation in sporting events; as well as the environmental framework, diversity and inclusion in the world of sport.
The program also includes other aspects, such as different public-private governance strategies, digital transformation of the sector, esports, digital marketing, communication and commercialization. During the two days of the Congress there will be different sports activities for the participants, academic presentations and technical visits; in addition, spaces will be set up for networking in order to maximize synergies between participants.
Telepresence in Congress using holograms
Among the innovations that the Congress will bring, as presented at the press conference, are two hologram booths to allow the participation of different speakers who will not be in Lloret de Mar in person. This will be the first event in Catalonia to use this cutting-edge technology, presented at Mobile World Congress 2021. Fiber optics and 5G connectivity will allow people from around the world to be brought together remotely and in real time from the Congress, through giant screens .
Tourism and Sports, a priority line of action for the UNWTO
For the World Tourism Organization, tourism and sport represent a priority that it has been actively developing for two years. Besides the organization of this World Sports Tourism Congress with the Catalan Tourist Office, UNWTO has supported other projects focused on this line of action.
The UNWTO recognizes the mutually reinforcing beneficial link between tourism and sport. Key indicators such as employment related to sport, the percentage of trips initiated for sporting reasons, the total expenditure associated with these trips and public expenditure related to sport, have recorded remarkable growth in recent years. Sports tourism also increases the visibility of destinations and encourages investment in infrastructure, with its positive multiplier effects at economic and social levels.
In the current context of crisis experienced by the tourism sector, in particular, and all other sectors of society and the economy, the contribution of each component and sub-sector will be very important, and the field of tourism and tourism. sport will be no exception.
Beyond the economic indicators mentioned above, it is imperative to highlight the values that sport inspires and promotes, and which apply to all aspects of economic and social life, including tourism.
The Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization, Zurab Pololikashvili, said: “… the gradual resumption of the calendar of competitions and major sporting events is an important driver of the resumption of tourism after the unprecedented shock of the pandemic. Sporting events can play a decisive role in the tourism development of destinations ”.
Lloret de Mar – Costa Brava
In recent years, sports tourism has become a strategic sector in Catalonia thanks to its state-of-the-art facilities and the wide range of possibilities it offers for sports-themed stays for individuals and teams. In 2003, the Catalan Tourist Office created its brand of sports tourism, a distinction that is given to municipalities, facilities and specialized companies that meet quality standards in different sports disciplines and recognize the excellence of resources and services for practicing sports or enjoying events and championships for elite athletes, professionals and amateurs of major sporting events.
Since 2006, Lloret de Mar has been recognized by the Catalan Tourist Office as a certified sports tourism destination in the disciplines of football, athletics, swimming, team sports, triathlon and cycling. The municipality has an extensive hotel infrastructure to accommodate all participants of the Congress and the various side events. Each year, it welcomes more than 60,000 athletes and accompanying persons and in 2019 hosted a total of 446 sports events and competitions.