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RTD7–the 7th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations: Barcelona-Catalunyaleft its international visitors to Barcelona and L’Estartit-Torroella de Montgri satisfied, happy and looking forward to RTD8.  It also left a group of tourism professionals more committed to achieving greater sustainability in their sector and the places in which they affect outcomes for tourism. 

The images on this page tell a good part of the story of this year’s conference.  More images and videos are available via the RTD7 Flickr, Facebook and YouTube channels.  Many of the presentations and talks can be also downloaded as pdf documents from the conference programme page.  Read other sections of the website to get a feel for what happened, the content and the conversations had.

The Conference Field Trip was a really special addition to this year’s conference, thanks to the efforts of Josep Capellà and colleagues, particularly our hosts in Torroella de Montgrí and L’Estartit.

RTD8 will be taking place in Manchester from April 4th to 5th 2014.


Signing of The 2020 Vision for Responsible Tourism from Catalunya–The Barcelona Declaration (pictured: Ricard Santomà from TSI:Turisme Sant Ignasi, Patrick Torrent, Deputy Director of the Agència Catalana de Turisme, and Pere Duran, Director General of the Barcelona Turisme).

There was a sizeable group of ICRT alumni at RT7, many involved as speakers, track chairs, organisers or similar.  12 nationalities are represented here.

There was a sizeable group of ICRT alumni at RT7, many involved as speakers, track chairs, organisers or similar. Twelve different nationalities are represented here, on the stairs of ESADEFORUM, our venue for the two-day “industry” programme.

The Barcelona Responsible Tourism Charter was signed in December 2010 with the approval of UNESCO. Take a look at it here.

A very thorough reflection on Barcelona’s “tourism model” was taking place around the same time, leading to the Strategic Tourism Plan for Barcelona 2015.  Everything from its objectives to its action programme are available in English here. Attend the RTD7 theme on The Role of Government in Destinations to hear more about this from one the key figures involved in this plan, Joan Serra, also speaking here at the RTD7 YouTube Channel (Catalan only).

At the level of Catalunya, a strategic plan and a marketing plan have been produced which contain objectives aligned with responsible tourism, for example, “access for all”, valuing a greater diversity of cultural heritage assets through responsible tourism, and spreading the benefits of tourism to other, perhaps “overlooked” parts of the region.

Also interesting is an initiative from the Barcelona Province: Barcelona És Molt Més (in English, There’s More To Barcelona) which helps to highlight the surprising variety of natural environments and cultural heritage within just one of Catalunya’s Provinces.  Turisme de Barcelona is also working to attract visitors to attractions beyond the city’s limits.  Can initiatives such as these help take some of the visitor pressure off the Catalan capital?

Issues and challenges remain.  In fact, Responsible Tourism in Destinations chose to host the 2013 conference in Barcelona (RTD7), not because it is the world’s most responsible destination, but rather because it is one of the world’s most successful destinations.  It is the tourist capital of Spain’s most heavily-visited territory–Catalunya receives 25 million tourist arrivals and has 7 million inhabitants.  More statistics for tourism in the city and province are available here.

Success, however, presents an extensive range of risks and management challenges for the mid- to long-term. Barcelona is a great place to debate how to ensure that the destination uses tourism rather than being used by it. How can Barcelona use tourism to make it a better place for people to live in and to visit?

Barcelona has been, and remains, a really successful destination with rapid growth since the Olympics in 1992. In 1993 Barcelona had 2.5 million visitors; in 2012 it had closer to 10 million. So what kind of tourism does Barcelona want for the future? Has Barcelona become little more than a congested amusement park for northern Europeans arriving on cheap flights?  Of course not, but many planners, politicians, tourism businesses, locals and regular visitors are watchful indeed.


From left to right: Francesc Vila (Director of Tourism Services, Barcelona Provincial Government), Harold Goodwin (Professor of Responsible Tourism Management), Patrick Torrent (Deputy Director of the Catalan Tourism Board), Joan Torrella (Director of Tourism & Events Operations, Barcelona City Council), Pere Duran (Director General of Turisme de Barcelona), Jordi Ficapal (Director of the Observatory of Responsible Tourism at TSI: Turisme Sant Ignasi)

The 7th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destination is being organised by the Responsible Tourism Observatory at TSI-Turisme Sant Ignasi (Universitat Ramon Llull) jointly with ICRT Barcelona Catalunya on behalf of the Dirección General de Turisme (Catalan Government Tourism Ministry), Agencia Catalana de Turisme (Catalan Tourism Board), Ajuntament de Barcelona (Barcelona City Council), Diputación de Barcelona (Barcelona Provincial Council) and Tursime de Barcelona (Barcelona Tourism Board).

This your opportunity to participate in the debate alongside government agencies, and the Catalan and international tourism industry, and contribute to framing the declaration which will address how Barcelona and Catalunya can use tourism to make them better places for people to live in.

Members of the RTD7 team at Turisme Sant Ignasi with Blanca Cros from the International Centre for Responsible Tourism

Some of the RTD7 team, including staff from the hosting venue TSI:Turisme Sant Ignasi and members of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism: Barcelona-Catalunya

The main event covers Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th October, when senior representatives of mainstream industry will give important keynote addresses explaining why Responsible Tourism makes business sense for operators and hoteliers. Other senior figures from outbound tourism and operators, as well as hotels and trade associations in Barcelona, will discuss the challenges which Barcelona and Catalunya face as tourism continues to grow.

A full-day conference field trip to learn about regeneration on the Costa Brava will take place on Wednesday October 2nd.  Few places remain to participate in this remarkable one-off visit so book to avoid disappointment.  For academics this is a valuable teaching example and follows the RTD7 Academic Day on Tuesday October 1st.

RTD7 Venues: ESADEFORUM (photos 1 & 2), Poble Espanyol, Torre Agbar

RTD7 Venues: ESADEFORUM (photos 1 & 2), Poble Espanyol, and Torre Agbar

The conference promises to be the best yet and there will be lots of opportunity to listen, discuss, debate and argue about how best to achieve sustainability – how to respond to the challenges and use tourism to make better places to live in, and better places to visit.

Full registration for RTD7 includes a great deal:

  1. attendance at the two-day main event (including catering)
  2. the chance to opt into the conference field trip (at minimal extra cost)
  3. free attendance at the academic day
  4. free attendance at the evening cultural events and networking meetings
  5. free attendance at the ceremony for the First Catalan Responsible Tourism Awards.



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RTD7 was co-chaired by Mr. Jordi Ficapal, Director of the Observatory of Responsible Tourism at TSI-Turisme Sant Ignasi (Universitat Ramon Llull), and Prof. Harold Goodwin, ICRETH, Leeds Metropolitan University.  Both co-chairs speak in the video summaries of RTD7 below (also available on the RTD7 YouTube channel).  Their summaries do a great deal to explain what responsible tourism means to destinations, whether that …

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Responsible Tourism

Responsible Tourism requires that operators, hoteliers, governments, local people and tourists take responsibility, take action to make tourism more sustainable. Responsible Tourism is about: making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit The first International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations took place in Cape Town in 2002, …

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BBC Worldwide's Fast-Track documentary poses a question

What are the issues?

The Barcelona Responsible Tourism Charter was signed in December 2010 with the approval of UNESCO. Take a look at it here. A very thorough reflection on Barcelona’s “tourism model” was taking place around the same time, leading to theStrategic Tourism Plan for Barcelona 2015.  Everything from its objectives to its action programme are available in English here. Attend the …

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Looking back The destination management agencies responsible for the development of tourism in Barcelona will be talking about the dramatic change which has come to the city since the Olympics, discussing some of the challenges of being such an iconic destination for city and cruise tourism. How has tourism impacted on Barcelona and Catalunya?  Carles …

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The Catalunya 2020 Vision for Responsible Tourism: The Barcelona Declaration 1.     Recognizing how far we have come 1.1     The tradition of Catalonia as a tourist destination dates back to the early twentieth century. Subsequently, the growth of both mass supply and demand in some parts of the coast in the 60s, and the exceptional growth …

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Sponsors & Partners

Message to our Sponsors and Partners from Harold Goodwin: We are grateful to the partners and sponsors who, by their generosity, make the holding of our annual International Conferences on Responsible Tourism in Destinations possible. This is the Responsible Tourism Partnership’s 7th conference each of which has contributed to making tourism more responsible in the …

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Institutional Committee Chair: Members of the Committee include representatives from the following sponsoring and partnering organisations: Agència Catalana de Turisme Ajuntament de Barcelona Diputació de Barcelona Diputació de Girona Generalitat de Catalunya, Direcció General de Turisme International Centre for Responsible Tourism, Barcelona – Catalunya International Centre for Responsible Tourism, UK Observatori del Turisme Responsable, TSI-Turisme Sant …

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