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INSTITUTO COORDENADAS: “An Analysis Group That Looks at the Options for Avoiding Global Collapse”

Barcelona’s efforts to become a safe destination for tourists have meant that, of all of Europe’s main tourism destinations, the city and its surrounding areas have been ranked as one of most committed to health safety matters. Monitoring and advice, alongside the involvement of the tourism sector’s main actors, have provided Barcelona with international acknowledgment that will benefit the sector’s recovery. Those are the main conclusions of an ongoing study by Institute Coordenadas into the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism industry.

One of the key indicators that place Barcelona at the forefront for safe spaces internationally is the backing for the city from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which has launched a global quality stamp for tourist destinations that provided the strongest guarantees that their public spaces are Covid-secure. Barcelona is a member of the elite group of major European cities that safely welcome a high number of tourists. As such, the city is striving to provide the safest conditions for visitors, around 28 million of whom come to the Catalan capital every year, joining its population of just over 1.6 million. Seville was also acknowledged by the WTTC, along with other destinations in Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Cancun, Mexico.

Barcelona’s seventh position (and the title of top-ranked Spanish city) in the Saffron City Brand Barometer 2020 of the cities with the strongest tourism brands is also a key factor. Similarly, the Global Safe Site certification from Bureau Veritas highlights strict compliance with hygiene and safety measures in Barcelona, which was also the first Spanish city to be awarded the distinction. Key tourist infrastructure such as Park Güell, the city’s zoo and the Tibidabo amusement park have all been awarded the Safe Tourism Certified distinction by the Institute for Spanish Tourism Quality (ICTE), which marks the implementation of a specific Covid-19 risk prevention system. Furthermore, Barcelona has been Biosphere-certified since 2011 as an urban destination committed to sustainability.

The website promoted by Barcelona City Council as part of the Barcelona Safe City/Safe Visit initiative is a key element in the process of getting the city moving again post-Covid. The portal can be used by companies and professionals to check the information related to their respective fields and for obtaining a personalised report featuring all the necessary elements to ensure protocols adapt to maximum safety requirements.

The involvement of actors from different municipal levels has been one of the factors that has allowed Barcelona to compete to become a safer city in terms of health. The Safe City initiative included an interdisciplinary working group with members from the Catalan Directorate of Tourism, the Public Health Agency of Catalonia, the Municipal Civil Defence Service, the Guàrdia Urbana municipal police force, BCNecologia/Barcelona Urban Ecology Agency, the city’s Department of Commerce, its Culture Institute and the Barcelona Sports Institute, municipal company B:SM, trade fair organisation Fira de Barcelona, the Turisme de Barcelona Consortium and ISGlobal.

Another aspect that will improve safety features for tourists in Barcelona is the introduction of the app currently being put together by the Turisme de Barcelona Consortium and Barcelona City Council. The app will allow users to check on health recommendations and the situation at visitor locations, so as to avoid crowds and queueing. The app’s initial launch phase will feature opening times and entry points for the most popular tourist destinations, along with guidance for health and mobility. Plans for the second phase include real-time information and the option of booking ahead to ensure safer management of tourist activities. The app is being developed by Eurecat Technology Centre in collaboration with the Mobile World Capital Barcelona Foundation and Barcelona Tech City.

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