Valencia is one step closer to becoming the world's first carbon neutral destination
Posted on 19/11/2020

EcotourismSpain

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Of all the cities in Spain, Valencia is known to be the most futuristic, not just because of its ultra modern buildings but for making astonishing advancements in creating a sustainable, green future. The city council has prioritized developing a sustainable tourism model since 2015, and they have finally started making huge strides. Valencia is now the first city in the world that monitors carbon emissions from tourism and the results will help them fulfill their goal to be carbon neutral by 2025.

Working towards a green future

Working towards a green future
© sean pavone/123rf

Visit Valencia Foundation collaborated with the city council and Global Omnium to do an in depth study on the tourism industry's carbon footprint. They examined the different sources of greenhouse gas emissions and its impact on the environment. To have a better understanding of which sectors were doing the most harm, they collected data from ten areas within the industry, including transportation - to and within the city, accommodation, restaurants, leisure activities and water management.

The results indicated that in 2019, 1,286 million tons of carbon emissions were caused by touristic activity. Interestingly, 81% of those figures came solely from the use of transport to the city. However, only 0.92% of the total carbon emissions were from public and private transport within the city. Furthermore, it was found that the carbon footprint produced by tourism was significantly lower than that generated by the food consumption of the city's residents. Additionally, the study proved that Valencia is in fact the most water-efficient city in Europe and only 0.01% of their carbon footprint was due to water consumption.

In a conversation with Lonely Planet, Emiliano García, the Councillor for Tourism in Valencia said, "In 2015, when the Valencia 2020 Strategic Plan began to take shape, the city made a commitment to develop a sustainable tourism model that was more integrated and more accessible for both citizens and visitors, while also generating economic wealth for the city. The city participates in environmental projects at a European level and also works at a local level to better the city's sustainability credentials incorporating a host of local stakeholders. Through this framework, the agreement with Global Omnium arose. Global Omnium is a Valencian water management company, whose pioneering technology enabled us to calculate our carbon footprint generated by tourism and, subsequently, audit it. This project has undoubtedly put Valencia at the forefront of sustainable destination management."

This study was conducted under Sustainable Tourism Strategy 2030 that was initiated in the beginning of 2020. Valencia is already the first city, worldwide, that has verified and certified its carbon footprint from tourist activities but under this initiative, Valencia hopes to make their tourism industry carbon-neutral by 2025. This will make them the first tourist destination in the world to have zero environmental impact.