The programme of talks, round-table discussions and other activities of the inaugural World Sports Tourism Congress was presented today in Lloret de Mar and Barcelona. The event is being organized by the Catalan Tourist Board (Government of Catalonia) and the World Tourism Organization, with the collaboration of the Costa Brava – Girona Tourist Board (Girona Provincial Council), and Lloret de Mar Town Council, through its tourism promotion body Lloret Turisme.
The presentation was attended by Roger Torrent, Minister for Business and Employment of the Government of Catalonia; Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization; Jaume Dulsat, Mayor of Lloret de Mar; and Jordi Masquef, Second Vice-President of the Costa Brava – Girona Tourist Board. They were accompanied by Marta Domènech, Director-General for Tourism of the Catalan Ministry of Business and Employment; and Narcís Ferrer, Director of the Catalan Tourist Board, among others.
Roger Torrent, Minister for Business and Employment of the Government of Catalonia, remarked that “The inaugural World Sports Tourism Congress, which is to be held in our country, will be an extremely important event, since it will serve as a platform for realizing all the potential of sport to foster responsible and sustainable sports tourism.” Mr Torrent added that the hosting of the congress was “a sign” of the reactivation and recovery of the country’s economy and tourism sector.
Meanwhile, Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, considered that the congress would be a major global event in which the focus should be on sustainability and innovation in sport.
Jaume Dulsat, Mayor of Lloret de Mar and First Vice-President of the Costa Brava – Girona Tourist Board, said that the event was “An opportunity for debate and for setting trends in this sector, but above all a chance for everyone involved in the congress to see the outdoor sports facilities, setting and services available in Lloret de Mar.”
Jordi Masquef, Second Vice-President of the Costa Brava – Girona Tourist Board and Councillor for Sport of Girona Provincial Council, considered that “The World Tourism Organization and the Catalan Tourist Board are showing their commitment to the Girona area and Lloret de Mar for three main reasons: first of all, due to the position of leadership of the local tourism sector; secondly, due to the superb facilities in the area; and, thirdly, because the area has a proven track record in the world of sport.” “We’re delighted to be hosting this inaugural World Sports Tourism Congress,” he added.
Lloret de Mar has held the Sports Tourism Destination seal of the Catalan Tourist Board since 2006 in the disciplines of football, athletics, swimming, group sports and triathlon. In 2019, it welcomed more than 60,000 sportspeople and companions, hosting a total of 446 sports events and competitions.
The congress programme includes 62 speakers and more than 400 participants
The congress will address several issues, such as the challenges posed for the sector by the COVID-19 pandemic, trends in sport and physical activity, innovation in the development of sports tourism or mass attendance at sports events, along with issues related to the environment, or diversity and inclusion in the world of sport.
The programme will also focus on other aspects, such as public-private strategies in governance matters, the digital transformation of the sector, e-sports (electronic sports), digital marketing, communication and commercialization. Additionally, the participants will have the chance to take part in various sports activities, attend academic talks or go on technical visits. Networking spaces will also be set up in order harness the synergies generated by the congress.
The congress will have 62 speakers from a wide variety of countries, such as the USA, Canada, France, Wales, Northern Ireland or Croatia. Several sports and tourism personalities have already confirmed their attendance, including Petra Stusek, President and CEO of European Cities Marketing; Kattia Juarez Dubón, of the International Motorcycling Federation; the Olympic gold medallist Edwin Moses; or Marco Mazzi, Vice-President of the International Sports Travel Agencies Association. Meanwhile, more than 400 professionals of the sector are expected to attend, either physically or virtually. The main novelty of the congress is the telepresence of several speakers through hologram technology.
Those interested in attending the event must register at the following link: https://worldsportstourismcongress.org/.
The congress will be held in hybrid format, giving delegates the option to participate both physically and virtually. The goal of this format is to strengthen the relationship between sports tourism and sustainable and inclusive development, diversification, differentiation and the progressive reduction in the seasonal nature of tourism. The Costa Brava – Girona Tourist Board and Lloret de Mar Town Council are collaborating in the organization of the congress.