Barcelona to host an international United Nations congress on tourism in large cities in 2014
The announcement coincides with the kick off of Catalonia’s International Tourism Fair (SITC), which takes place in Barcelona from the 19th to the 21st of April. The news was announced by Taleb Rifai, the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and the Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig. The United Nations tourism congress takes place every two years. Furthermore Rifai praised the SITC’s international projection, since this year it has replicated the number of participating countries and has the United Nations’ support.
Barcelona (ACN).- In 2014, the Catalan capital will organise the United Nations\u2019 international congress on tourism in large cities, as was announced on Friday by Taleb Rifai, the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and the Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig. The announcement coincides with the kick off of Catalonia\u2019s International Tourism Fair (SITC), which takes place in Barcelona from the 19th to the 21st of April. The United Nations tourism congress takes place every two years and it directly organised by the international organisation. Furthermore, Rifai praised the SITC\u2019s international projection, since this year it has replicated the number of participating countries and has the United Nations\u2019 support. Besides, Puig emphasised the continuous growth of the tourism sector over the last few years in Catalonia. \u201CTourism is the activity that is best resisting the economic crisis\u201D, emphasised the Catalan Minister.
In the kick off of the International Tourism Fair of Catalonia (SITC), Felip Puig, reminded the attendees that the number of international tourists visiting Catalonia grew by 10% in 2012 and their spending increased by 14%. Puig also disclosed that the projected figures for 2013 are \u201Cpositive\u201D and will be larger again than the total figures from last year. In addition, he underlined that the summer season will be \u201Cgood\u201D, but he did not detail the forecast. However, he lamented the fact that the economic crisis in the European countries may affect the number of their nationals visiting Catalonia, but he was confident that emerging economies will be able to balance the situation, especially tourists coming from Asia.
A thousand exhibitors
This year\u2019s edition of the SITC gathered together a thousand exhibitors. The fair\u2019s main news is of the tourist experiences offered by Catalan destinations, such as cottage houses and gastronomy on the Costa Brava or in the Pyrenees. Furthermore there is the Innovation Zone, with 5 start-up companies from Barcelona city which are going to present their most innovative projects. The fair is completed by the areas relating to cruise ships \u2013 since Barcelona is the fourth main international cruise ship harbour -, camping and travel agency proposals. There is also a zone focusing on tourism in deserts called \u201CGateway to the Desert\u201D. In addition, there are 50 countries showing some of their top tourist spots, especially from Mediterranean countries, as well as Nordic, Asian and Latin American destinations.
In addition, in parallel to the fair there is the 3rd International Congress on Asian Tourism, which takes place in the \u2018Palau de Congress\u2019 of Fira de Barcelona, at the Montjuic venue. The congress counts on the participation of large tour operators, some 30 expert speakers and tourist promotion institutions from China, Japan, India and South-East Asian countries. The Catalan Tourism Agency also participates in the congress, with its Director Xavier Espasa as a speaker, as well as the Agency\u2019s Directors in Chinese and South-East Asian offices, Antonio Li and David Miró.
Catalonia is the leading destination for international tourism at Spanish level. Furthermore, it concentrates 50% of all the tourists coming to Spain from the Asia-Pacific region. In fact, it is the market which is growing the most in Catalonia. Last year, 161,866 tourists came to Catalonia from Japan; China, 103,694; Australia, 100,000; India, 30,584; Singapore, 29,590; and Indonesia, 27,058. The ACT has detected a growing interest in Catalonia in those countries and its tourist attractions. The ACT already had an office in Beijing but, considering the demand, it added a second one to its network in Singapore in 2011.