Vitoria-Gasteiz today received the Smart Destination designation following assessment by SEGITTUR, in accordance with the Secretary of State for Tourism’s Smart Destination methodology.
The director of R&D&i at SEGITTUR, Carlos Romero Dexeus, today awarded the Smart Destination designation to the deputy mayor and councillor for Tourism for Vitoria-Gasteiz, Maider Etxebarria, demonstrating the hard work the Basque capital has put into tourism.
The awarding of the designation is the result of having excelled in the analysis performed by the SEGITTUR team, who worked with different areas of the local government over several months to assess over 400 requirements linked to the five categories of the Smart Destination model (governance, innovation, technology, accessibility and sustainability).
Within the areas analysed, Vitoria-Gasteiz received its highest score for sustainability, with 89.3%. This was followed by accessibility (72.6%), technology (64%), governance (61%) and innovation (57%).
Commitment to sustainability
Sustainability is a key part of Vitoria-Gasteiz’s identity and what it bases its development as a tourist destination on. In 2016, it was awarded the Biosphere Responsible Tourism certification, and it has also received international recognition such as the European Green Capital in 2012 or, more recently, the Global Green City prize in 2019.
The hard work it has carried out has enabled it to receive an excellent score on aspects related to the conservation, improvement and recovery of the environment, as well as aspects linked to cultural heritage, sustainable tourism, socio-economic development and circular economy.
Accessibility and technology
Accessibility is one of the aspects most valued by the tourists who visit, since despite not having an accessible tourism strategy, universal accessibility is one of the objectives of its Tourism Master Plan.
Technology also plays an important role in the destination, both in governance and in technological infrastructure, as it has very advanced designs for its SmartEnCity and VG Smart Green City projects.
Governance and innovation
Regarding governance, Vitoria-Gasteiz has made a lot of progress with pillars such as sustainability and quality, basing its model on a strategic city plan, the Agenda Vitoriana, and a 2018–2020 Tourism Master Plan, with shared objectives and strategic plans. These are also shared with supramunicipal bodies in a joint investment in sustainability, innovation and new technologies.
In terms of innovation, Vitoria-Gasteiz is strengthened by a region that is strong in R&D&i. The city’s most advanced innovation is in destination management and in products and services, while aspects related to marketing have more room for improvement.
The recommendations made to the local government of Vitoria-Gasteiz include the need to boost online marketing and improve channels of communication with tourists.
Moreover, it was recommended that they promote sustainable tourism in the private sector, while encouraging the destination to launch an accessible tourism plan and make the online communication channels more accessible.
The director of R&D&i at SEGITTUR congratulated Vitoria-Gasteiz for its work and explained that “being a Smart Destination will add value, making it more competitive and boosting sustainable tourism development.”
The deputy mayor expressed her gratitude for the recognition and emphasised that “now is the time to defend Vitoria-Gasteiz’s strengths and implement our innovative and sustainable tourist destination model. The Smart Destination designation is another step forward in our strategy to position ourselves as a destination that is safe, accessible, healthy and not overcrowded. To summarise: a high quality destination.”