This webinar aims to discuss how this transition will take shape and to what extent a more sustainable urban tourism model will entail not only diversifying city centres’ economies and retail sectors, but also the housing market, the cultural offer and city life as a whole.
European cities attract millions of visitors each year, with numbers particularly rising since the year 2000. The COVID-19 pandemic suddenly emptied them of tourists as travel restrictions and abrupt lockdowns were imposed across Europe. The fall in visitor arrivals was unprecedented: London (-9.8 million), Rome (-5.6 million), Paris (-5.4 million), Istanbul (-5.3 million), Barcelona (-4.9 million), Amsterdam (-4.3 million), Prague (-3.8 million) and Dublin (-3.8 million). This downturn has particularly affected city centres, whose services and retail sectors are highly dependent on the tourist industry, due to their high density of restaurants, hotels, souvenir shops and tourist attractions.
In response, city governments have adopted a range of measures to revitalise these urban areas. An ongoing study by CIDOB’s Global Cities Programme in seven European cities (Amsterdam, Barcelona, Ghent, Florence, Nantes, Ljubljana and Prague) has observed that the first reaction of local authorities was the adoption of short-term policies to reactivate the economic and tourism sectors. In particular, several measures were adopted to rescue micro, small and medium-sized businesses in city centres. However, the research has also identified a growing interest among cities in intervening in other policy areas, such as governance and participation, digital innovation, culture and housing, as a way to drive a sustainable recovery of urban tourism. In this regard, the study, which remains in progress, is observing that the COVID-19 crisis is accelerating the transition towards a more sustainable urban tourism model.
Against this backdrop, this webinar aims to discuss how this transition will take shape and to what extent a more sustainable urban tourism model will entail not only diversifying city centres’ economies and retail sectors, but also the housing market (long- and short-term rentals), the cultural offer (tourist attractions and a quality cultural offer that also appeal to locals) and city life as a whole (day-to-day services and facilities, e.g. libraries, kindergartens, parks). The event is organised by CIDOB’s Global Cities Programme, in collaboration with Barcelona City Council and Eurocities. It will bring together elected city officials, practitioners and scholars for a discussion that will take place over two days. The first day will be devoted to analysing the impact of COVID-19 on urban tourism and reflecting on possible ways forward, while the second will explore ongoing policy responses and future municipal strategies to move towards a sustainable recovery.
>> The event will be streamed live at CIDOB’s Youtube channel.
Laia Bonet, Deputy Mayor for International Relations, Barcelona City Council
Pol Morillas, Director, CIDOB
Eva Garcia-Chueca, Senior Research Fellow, Global Cities Program, CIDOB
Debate facilitated by:Anna Lisa Boni, Secretary General, Eurocities
Debate 1: Long-term strategies to reactivate and diversify city centres
Laia Bonet, Deputy Mayor for 2030 Agenda, Digital Transition, Sports, Territorial and Metropolitan Coordination and International Relations, Barcelona City Council
Victor Everhardt, Deputy Mayor for Economy, Finances, Tourism, Amsterdam City Council
Hana Trestikova, Councillor for Culture, Conservation, Exhibitions and Tourism, Prague City Council
Debate 2: How to transition towards a more sustainable urban tourism model?
Tjaša Ficko,Deputy Mayor for International Relations, Ljubljana City Council
André Sobczak,Vice-President of Nantes Métropole for European Affairs, Employment and Corporate Social Responsibility, Nantes Métropole
Cecilia Del Re,Deputy Mayor for Tourism, Innovation, Environment and Urban Planning, Florence City Council
Claudia Monteiro, Member of the European Parliament
Anna Lisa Boni,Secretary General, Eurocities