A Coruña in Galicia, Spain – the new kid on the sustainable MICE journey of Spain
One of the principles of ecomice is to be honest and transparent – and we do not “greenwash”. We present the Galician city of A Coruña as being sustainable “in the making” when it comes to integrating their sustainable strategies in MICE business to the city. The city council is very ambitious and engaged in where they want to move with their sustainable development, but practical translation into programs connected with conferences or events is still at the lower end. As it is in many other destinations.
The MICE Team in A Coruña is eager to learn, exchange and use ideas to shape their tourism and MICE sector. It is also new to the city to promote their MICE offer internationally – so why not develop it all together the right way from the start.
One of the main challenges in developing a proper transition strategy and applications for MICE programs, is for many Convention Bureaus that they have to work with minimum staffing. People work on different tasks to split their time to. We all know that it needs some mental space if good things want to be developed. It therefore should be a priority for communal and private CVB organisations to take a first “sustainable” step and allocate extra resources for sustainable development and the necessary liaising with the city council and the local industry, academia, innovation etc.
Another good step can be to take in some local DMCs as partners for creating and managing sustainable programs for MICE in a city. Include them in strategic meetings between the partners and make them the ambassadors for the city’s sustainable programs. That way, new opportunities are given to local stakeholders and new developments will be possible on a much better scale.
We have discussed with Moises Jorge Naranjo (in the picture) and Julio de la Fernandez Iglesia, what could be the best initial steps for the city to look into and what areas in their city are interesting for connecting with MICE and knowledge transfer, experiential integration of sustainability elements and legacy options.
The framework of the local City Council will be introduced during the ecomice presentation at IMEX. The city council presently works on getting the Biosphere Destination Certificate, which will accelerate the process to certify hotels, venues and restaurants. The Biosphere certification shall be obtained until the end of 2022.
In terms of certifications, A Coruna Convention Bureau have obtained the ISO 20121 certification in sustainable event management, so all the events that are organized through the Tourist Office and Convention Bureau, are carried out following the standard of ISO 20121.
MARIÑAS CORUÑESAS AND TERRAS DO MANDEO BIOSPHERE RESERVE
Las Mariñas Coruñesas e Terras do Mandeo is a biosphere reserve declared on May 28, 2013, which covers 17 municipalities in the counties of A Coruña, Betanzos and Terra de Melide. The reserve covers an area of 113,970 hectares and is home to a population of about 195,000 people. https://www.marinasbetanzos.gal/
For A Coruña, the Biosphere Reserve provides a magnificent range of possibilities for programs around ecotourism, nautical activities, nature, visits to wineries and gastronomy. The CVB annually organize the Atlantic Territory Gastronomic Days in which, on the one hand, restaurants in the city participate in creating menus with products from the Reserve, and on the other hand, meetings with producers and restaurant owners are organized, so that they get to know each other and establish collaboration agreements and commercial. The offers are used a lot for corporate and incentive groups – which helps for great food experiences and for the producers.
ORBALL: In the heart of the Biosphere Reserve, this company has created the first organic tea plantation in Europe. In addition to tea, they grow aromatic herbs and it is open to visitors.
The city of A Coruna is well-known for its great food – some say it is the best in Spain. Regional products are widely used in restaurants, several food markets offer great experiences to groups, fish and shellfish are famous for their taste and quality. The best white wine to go with fish is Albarino, which unfortunately cannot be allocated to A Coruña, as it is grown in the South of Galicia, in the Rias Baixas. BUT, in Betanzos (20 km from A Coruña), one of the towns belonging to the Biosphere Reserve, wine is produced since medieval times and are recovering native grape varieties for small but high-quality productions.
For the commercialization of this wine and other products of the bioreserve they have just launched a market place for direct sales.
A Coruña is also home to Inditex, the largest fashion organisation in the world. Everyone knows Zara, Massimo Dutti, Zara Home, Uterqüe and more brands – all belonging to Inditex consortium. 50 % of their production factories are located in A Coruña, the founder of Inditex, Amancio Ortega, lives there. Well, the fashion industry does not have the best reputation so far, when it comes to sustainable production, use of resources, energy, water and waste management. But obviously we have to say goodbye to some previous assumptions – Inditex has a massive environmental strategy and a strong CSR program
Inditex, in addition to its sustainability policy, supports training in sustainability with the Inditex Chair of Sustainability at the University of A Coruña, a few interesting stories about the projects and students are on the website of the Inditex Chair of Sustainability
The city’s Department of the Environment works on a whole set of action against threats by climate and biodiversity changes – more info in the project website for “Sustainable A Coruna”
Did you know that Santiago de Compostela is only 50 km away from A Coruña – the famous spiritual destination at the end of the St. Jacobs Way for many pilgrims! It is worthwhile to look at A Coruna and its environment as a new destination for MICE business in Spain.
We look forward to hearing more about the sustainable development of A Coruna at IMEX!
It is an initiative of tmf dialogue.
Travelling today means to reduce negative impact as much as possible and to take responsibility for the destination. Our collaborative business model integrates all stakeholders to jointly follow the sustainable goals of the UN Agenda. We support building legacy projects (environmental and societal) and creating new programs.
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Thanks so much for your interest and support in showing the industry that we can be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
Text: Johanna Fischer, tmf dialogue, for ecomice Destination A Coruna @IMEX22